DENVER — City fire investigators believe a construction fire near Broncos Stadium in May 2018 may have been intentionally set, 9Wants to Know has learned.
Court documents and other records name Michael Marte as a central figure in the investigation.
At the time of the fire, Marte was the construction manager for ADC Construction, an Australian company and the developer of a slot home project at 1920 and 1930 Grove Street.
Based on public records and leaked documents, 9Wants to Know learned investigators immediately suspected the project was burned down on purpose.
A copy of a letter sent by ADC Construction’s insurance company informs the developer there would be no insurance payout because “Michael Marte intentionally set the fire and intentionally misrepresented the cause of the fire.”
The letter continued: "Significant issues arose that would be cost prohibitive for the project to be profitable."
The letter goes on to say investigators "have video of Mike Marte leaving [the] scene at the time of the fire," that "samples confirmed the presence of gasoline" and that he "confided in several people" about starting the fire, including his ex-girlfriend.
The letter was written by the Lambdin & Chaney law firm in Denver on behalf of Burlington Insurance and echoes the same elements in the subcontractor lawsuit against ADC.
Months after the fire destroyed the incomplete project, four subcontractors sued ADC Construction for their losses.
In response to the claim, attorneys for ADC Construction admit in a civil filing that “Michael S. Marte” is a “person of interest in the fire investigation."
“Sadness. It seems completely unnecessary,” said Andy Berrane, one of the subcontractors suing ADC.
Nobody was injured in the fire, however, a family of four next door was displaced from their home for several months because of heavy smoke damage. Nadim's family had to escape around 2 a.m. on May 10, 2018 when the fire erupted.
“Even the fire department said if they stayed another couple of minutes, they could have died because of the carbon monoxide,” said Nadim, a father of two boys.
The Denver Fire Department wouldn’t give specific details of the investigation, citing the case is still active and that agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are reviewing the incident.
9Wants to Know put in numerous calls to ADC Construction, but did not hear back at this time of writing.
People who know Michael Marte told 9NEWS he's somewhere out of the country.
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