Couple says they lost their home because of neighbor’s fireworks on Fourth of July

DENVER (KCNC) – A Colorado couple says they lost their house in a fire caused by their neighbor setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July.

The neighbor, whose home was not damaged, faces an arson charge.

Anthony Fox and his fiancé Nicole Betz were hiking with their dog in Estes Park on the Fourth of July when they got an unexpected call.

Their home of five years was on fire.

“We have roof and wall sections collapsing, no front door or door frame, because [firefighters] had to kick that through to get in to look for survivors,” Fox said.

The couple said they almost lost their cat, Apollo, who was trapped inside the home when the fire started. A deputy was able to get him out.

Fox’s neighbor Gabriel Etsby Ocean was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree arson.

“He could’ve killed us. He could’ve killed our pets, and ruined our home because of some reckless kid,” Fox said.

Ocean is accused of setting off fireworks in between his home and Fox’s home.

“Now, we are out of a home but at least we have our family, which is what’s important,” Fox said.

Ocean was later released from jail.

“This gentleman is charged with arson and is at home sleeping in his bed while we’re trying to gather the remnants of our home that he destroyed, [and we’re] sleeping out of a hotel room,” Fox said.

Fox continued, “Like seriously if you don’t know how to control a fire, don’t start one. You could cost someone their home and potentially cost someone their life.”

The fire department has not yet released the official cause of the fire.