Attempted murder charges filed

By Tony E. Windsor

Two unrelated weekend fires are under investigation as arsons. A fire in Greenwood late Sunday night resulted in a woman being treated for smoke inhalation, while a major fire in Delmar, Md., in the early hours of Monday, May 6, has resulted in an arrest and charges of multiple counts of attempted murder.

According to the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office, a fire was reported by neighbors at about 9:43 p.m., Sunday night, May 5, and the Houston Fire Department responded. Upon arriving, fire officials were told that it was believed someone was still inside the home, located on the block of Gardenia Boulevard in Blairs Pond Estates, near Greenwood.

Firefighters located a 46-year-old woman inside the home and were able to rescue her and transport the woman to Milford Memorial Hospital for treatment. She was later transferred to the Chester-Crozier Burn Center in Pennsylvania, where she was listed in stable condition. The fire was under control and extinguished shortly after 10 p.m.

The fire marshal's office is continuing an investigation of the fire and has determined it to have been intentionally set. The damages to the home are estimated at about $25,000.

Meanwhile, in Delmar, a major fire reported at about 12:20 a.m., Monday morning, had fire fighters from at least seven area fire departments working for an hour to bring it under control.According to Deputy Fire Marshal Thomas Harr the home was a two-story single-family residence located on the 700 block of State Street, in Delmar. At the time of the fire the occupants of the home, the family of Eduardo Machado, were sleeping inside.

Harr said the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and the Delmar Police Department worked together and within five hours made an arrest.

According to the fire marshal's office, police arrested a Seaford man, Andy Modeste, of Snug Harbor Drive, and charged him with intentionally starting the Delmar fire in the crawl space of the home.

Harr said Modeste owned the Delmar home and was renting it to the Machado family. Investigators say an ongoing dispute between Modeste and Machado regarding the Landlord/Tenant Lease Agreement may have been a factor in why Modeste allegedly set the fire.

About 70 fire fighters from Delmar, Hebron, Parsonsburg, Sharptown, Salisbury, Laurel and Gumboro fire departments battled the blaze and had it under control in about an hour. Damages are estimated at about $40,000.

According to the state fire marshal's office, Modeste has been charged with one count of first degree arson, first degree malicious burning, first and third degree burglary, malicious destruction of property over $500, four counts of attempted first degree murder and four counts of reckless endangerment. Harr said the charges of first degree attempted murder and reckless endangerment stem from Modeste intentionally setting the fire at the home while the Machado family slept inside. Modeste is currently being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center awaiting bond review. If convicted of the charges, Modeste faces up to life in prison and over $90,000 in fines.

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