Breakup may have prompted Durham fire

Ricela Salom Rebollar-Valdez (Image courtesy Guilford County Sheriff's Office)
September 3, 2012 2:41:51 PM PDT
The ex-boyfriend of the woman accused of setting an apartment fire in Durham said their recent breakup may have led her to start the fire.

Police arrested 21-year-old Ricela Rebollar-Valdez on Saturday at her home in Guilford County. The woman faces arson charges for Friday's fire at the Springfield Apartments. She is charged with two counts of arson and one count of breaking and entering.

Police believe the fire started in apartment 404. Rolando Benitez, the man who lived in that unit, said he believes his ex-girlfriend set the fire after their recent breakup.

"We broke up about two or three months ago and she wanted to come back. She used to break into my apartment maybe about two or three times until I called the police," Benitez said.

Rebollar-Valdez's family told ABC11 she denies having started the fire. She is scheduled to face a judge in Durham Tuesday.

Officials said at least 18 units were destroyed and more were damaged. In all, 16 families, including 34 people, were displaced as a result of the fire.

The apartments in Durham remain cordoned off. Management at the apartment complex told ABC11 they will have social workers on site Tuesday to assist any residents.

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