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Albuquerque Fire Rescue identified the man found dead inside an office building that burned early Monday morning after he allegedly set the fire at the scene on West Central.
Lt. Tom Ruiz, an AFR spokesman, said the body of 57-year-old Patrick Linton was found after firefighters extinguished a blaze at an office building near Central and the river.
Ruiz said AFR believes Linton set the fire, but it is not being classified as arson because it was “not necessarily meant to burn the structure down.” He said the Office of the Medical Investigator will determine how Linton died.
Court records over the past few months show Linton, whose address was listed as a Santa Fe homeless shelter, had been arrested repeatedly for breaking into buildings and starting fires – at least one to “stay warm” – in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
AFR was dispatched to the most recent fire at around 1 a.m.
Firefighters got to the building at 2626 Central SW, near the river, and found smoke and flames coming from the structure. Crews found Linton’s body inside the charred building after putting out the flames.
Ruiz said the “actual cause” of the fire is still unknown and under investigation.
Authorities say Linton has been arrested four times since mid-November for starting a fire and damaging property.
Court records show Linton was arrested twice in November for allegedly starting a fire outside a Santa Fe school and, separately, inside a car “to stay warm” on Albuquerque’s West Side.
Then, on Dec. 5, he was arrested for allegedly starting “a campfire” behind a Circle K, according to court records. On Jan. 3, he was arrested again after allegedly starting a fire inside a Motel 6 laundry room and screaming about suicide.