Police identify arson suspects
ASPEN Aspen police have the names of two juveniles suspected of setting Monday’s wildfire at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.Police have made no arrests in the case, though they have talked to the kids.Ed Van Walraven, Aspen’s fire marshal, said both fires Monday afternoon – one at ACES and one at the No Problem Bridge – were definitely human-caused. It was unclear, however, whether matches, fireworks or some other incendiary device started the fires. ACES made it through without any serious damage, though flames licked buildings and burned about 10,000 square feet of grassy area. “There was no significant damage except to our nerves,” said Tom Cardamone, executive director of ACES. “To be fair, the cotton is so combustible that a casually dropped match or cigarette could have caused this. The stuff burns like a fast fuse and gets away from you in seconds. It doesn’t take much, so extra caution is called for.”Witnesses of the fire spotted the two boys at both locations where the fires began on Monday, according to police. Though Aspen police Sgt. Bill Linn said a member of the department had spoken with one of the boys, police could not continue the interview because of laws that require parents to be present. Police and fire officials stressed that fire danger is extremely high. Van Walraven noted that Grand Junction recently had temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of only 2 percent, while the mercury in Aspen topped 90 degrees Monday. “This has happened over the years two or three other times,” Cardamone said. “This time was more alarming than it has been in the past, I think because of the dryness.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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