Arson charges against Parachute man dropped
July 29, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – 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 fourth-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 states.
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 counts. However, Reyes-Alfonso remained in custody under an Immigration and Customs Enforcement 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 states the deputy helped extinguish the fires, but left when called to another incident in Rifle.
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While the deputy was en route to Rifle, he was again contacted by Grand Valley Fire crews who advised him of “suspicious activity” near the burn area, the affidavit says.
Ferguson said that a third brush fire popped up while crews were extinguishing the first two areas, and that firefighters came across a man who seemed “disoriented.” Ferguson said firefighters attempted to contact the man, but he ran off into nearby brush.
According to the affidavit, the deputy made contact with Reyes-Alfonso after arriving on the scene for the second time. The report states 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.
According to court records, Reyes-Alfonso had no prior record.