Boss feels betrayal, rage after hearing employee started Ingram Square fire

1 firefighter killed, 2 others injured in blaze

SAN ANTONIO – Emond Johnson admitted to setting a fire in May that left one firefighter dead and two others injured. His boss said he felt betrayed after hearing the news.

Johnson didn’t talk in detail about the fire that destroyed The Spartan Box gym in the Ingram Square shopping center, his boss said.

AJ Mora, with Crossfit Born Ready in Helotes, said he reached out to Johnson after the May fire to pay back the kindness others had shown him when his own gym was destroyed in a fire just months before.

READ MORE: Arrest made in death of firefighter Scott Deem

“We reached out to him via phone call, email, saying we went through it. If there’s something we can do to help, we’d love to assist them,” he said. “We housed them for three months. In August, they made the decision they wouldn’t open.”

Mora hired Johnson as a coach and said he didn’t see any clues that he had anything to do with the fire.

RELATED: What we know so far about Scott Deem murder suspect Emond Johnson

After hearing the news of Johnson’s arrest Wednesday, Mora said he felt betrayed.

“It’s where the rage comes in. 'How would we have known?' I tell myself. Once I found out, (I was) kicking myself in the face,” Mora said. “There was no signs to signal of him doing that.”

Mora said the weightlifting community is like family and they are all pretty upset and shocked.


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