Commander Cushman at the Laramie Police Department has confirmed that the fire on the east side of the Laramie Walmart was apparently arson. Police and the fire department responded to Walmart around 3:26 this afternoon on a fire call. Authorities cleared the building so it would be safe. Eye witness testimony led police to believe a male in his mid 40’s, approximately 5’8” and wearing a red sweatshirt may have started the fire with the help of starter fluid. Witnesses said the man fled in a silver Saturn utility vehicle driven by an older female. The vehicle went east toward Interstate 80.

The investigation led police to the residence of 46-year-old Todd Lee Harnden at the 900 block of McCue Street. Police arrested Harnden for first degree arson. Carol Gonzales, 65, was also arrested for interference in relation to the case. Other charges are possible for both as the case is reviewed.

First degree arson carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $20,000 or two times the insurance money. Harnden could face both the jail time and fine if convicted.


Laramie Walmart had a small fire on its east end near the garden center, and authorities say it may have been arson.

Details are still emerging about the incident, although officials have confirmed that the fire was apparently set by a man who was apprehended around 5:45 p.m. according to Commander Bury with the Special Response Team.

The Special Response Team was initially activated for the arrest of the man accused, but the situation was resolved before they made it to the scene across town.

Commander Bury says a release with more information will be available likely later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Officers on scene could not comment on the nature of the fire. Fire crews were seen leaving Walmart around 5:20 p.m.

We will keep you informed as information becomes available.