DA’s office drops felony arson charges against Parachute man
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A 19-year-old Parachute resident was spared felony charges for allegedly starting a wildfire near the Battlement Mesa skatepark.
Salomon Reyes-Alfonso was arrested on felony 4th degree arson charges on July 19 after a Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy discovered him laying in the field within the burn area the night of the fire, an arrest affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, when the deputy asked Reyes-Alfonso what he was doing within the fire scene, Reyes-Alfonso responded that he had been “dropped off there”.
Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges against Reyes-Alfonso, Wednesday, and dropped the felony arson charge. However, Reyes-Alfonso remained in custody under an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Rob Ferguson, fire crews responded to a wildfire call about 11 p.m. on July 19, and extinguished two fires which scorched about 1 1/2 acres.
The sheriff’s deputy responded to the fire call to assist, and according to the arrest affidavit, when the deputy arrived fire crews were already on the scene extinguishing the fire. The report stated that the deputy helped extinguish the fires, but left when called to another incident in Rifle.
While the deputy was en route to Rifle, he was again contacted by Grand Valley Fire crews which advised him of “suspicious activity” near the burn area, the affidavit stated.
Ferguson said that a third brush fire popped up while crews were extinguishing the first two areas, and that fire fighters came across a man who seemed “disoriented.” Ferguson said that fire fighters attempted to contact the man, but he ran off into some nearby brush.
According to the affidavit, the deputy made contact with Reyes-Alfonso after arriving on the scene for the second time. The report stated that Reyes-Alfonso was wearing black pants, black shirt, and white shoes. The report stated that the deputy did not find any ignition source in an initial search of Reyes-Alfonso, but an orange lighter was found in the field, near the area where he was discovered laying in the field.
According to court records, Reyes-Alfonso has no prior record.
The affidavit also stated that there was a large amount of lightning in the area during the time the fire started. Ferguson said that it did appear through investigation that the blaze was started by some type of incendiary device, such as a lighter.
No houses were threatened. And while the fire threatened the skatepark, it was not damaged.
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