Panorama Fire still under investigation
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating suspects believed to be responsible for starting last week’s Panorama Fire, but no charges have yet been filed.
Garfield County Undersheriff Jim Sears said it has not yet been necessary to serve search warrants aimed at gaining access to employee records and other information from the Carbondale firm believed to have started the 1,590-acre Panorama Fire. The fire was fully contained last Friday.
A seven-person crew from Mendoza Concrete allegedly used a gas-powered saw to cut rebar July 31 in the Panorama Estates subdivision northeast of Carbondale. The crew was working on the concrete foundation for a new home belonging to Hans Brucker at 805 Buckpoint Road.
The fire quickly spread, destroyed two houses and damaged others.
Several people have since been interviewed in connection with the incident, Sears said Wednesday.
The investigation may lead to the arrest of one or more company officials or employees on a charge of fourth-degree arson, Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri said. The offense is punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of between $2,000 to $500,000.
Dalessandri has said, however, that he isn’t so concerned about when an arrest occurs, but rather determining whether Mendoza Concrete is liable for the fire. That aspect is important to those residents whose homes were lost or damaged by the fire, he said.
Any fine from an arson conviction would likely help the county, various fire departments who responded and the Colorado State Forest Service recover the costs of battling the blaze.
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