Keys man arrested for the house fire on Rockland Key

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Key West police have arrested a man for arson and burglary in connection with a dramatic March 12 house fire on Rockland Key that choked an entire neighborhood.

Robert Wade Fordham, 51, on Friday remained locked up at the Stock Island Detention Center on $500,000 bond.

He was arrested April 9 but authorities announced his arrest on Friday without explanation. His arrests for arson and burglary are not in the Monroe County Sheriff’s mugshot system.

Details and an arrest report weren’t immediately released Friday morning.

Monroe County Fire Rescue responded to the fire at 5:45 p.m. March 12, finding the home fully engulfed as black smoke filled the neighborhood. The house was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries, officials said.

The home at 20 Calle Uno, which had severe damage from Hurricane Irma last September and was under renovations, is listed as a total loss with damages estimated at about $600,000,

A two-page report by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is nearly entirely redacted. It says that upon arrival, a deputy found “three males running around the house trying to extinguish the fire.” Their names are blacked out on the report.

Crews from the Stock Island, Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key and Big Coppitt Key stations responded to put out the fire that was called in by a neighbor. Some nearby homes were evacuated, deputies said.

Rockland Key is about nine miles north of Key West.

This is a developing story and we will update it as more information becomes available.


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