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Why a Colorado Springs man is facing a felony charge after police say he started Akerman Fire

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Sergeant Shawn Mahon with the Colorado Springs Police Arson Unit told KRDO Friday that a homeowner is facing a felony charge because he "negligently" ignored burn restrictions, causing the Akerman Fire in a Stetson Hills neighborhood Thursday.

Sergeant Mahon said a homeowner "had some ashes from [a] fire pit and took the ashes and dumped it over a fence by his property" into an easement between his home and his neighbor's. Police said it took only seconds for the blaze to spark. The homeowner called 911, but the fire had already started to spread.

The Akerman Fire ultimately scorched 30 acres, damaged 20 homes, and forced hundreds to evacuate.

If burn restrictions weren't in place, Sergeant Mahon said the man likely would've only been charged with a level 2 misdemeanor.

"The gentleman was very cooperative. He was remorseful about it. So, we were looking at class two [misdemeanor], but again, with the burn restrictions that are set in place, we just went with class six felony," Sergeant Mahon said.

The homeowner does not have any court appearances scheduled yet.

For a full list of current burn restrictions in El Paso County, click here.

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Sydnee Scofield

Sydnee is a Senior Reporter and Weekend Anchor for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.

Comments

18 Comments

      1. Josh Allen the quarterback? He’ll be able to get through this. He’s an NFL player and they take care of their own.
        You can get away with murder in the NFL so he’s good to go.

    1. He wasn’t “throwing off sparks”. He got stuck while driving off-road responding to a call, and the (extremely hot) catalytic converter set the gr@ss underneath it on fire. We can debate all day about the merits of driving a sedan off-road in the dirt and sand, but the bottom line here is that the officer was on duty responding to a call. That provides him with a very large legal shield against any potential lawsuit. Said lawsuit would have to be filed against his employer, namely EPCSO.

        1. In this instance the word “sparked” was used instead of the more proper word “ignited”. Catalytic converters do not emit sparks. However, a catalytic converter is more than capable of igniting any dry gr@ss that comes into contact with it.

          1. Shame the idiot cop won’t even receive a slap on the wrist for endangering lives and homes by driving through someone’s property to investigate the property owner’s presence on his own property.

      1. And since EPSO will not file charges against this deputy, EPSO will also bear the burden of the cost of this fire since it was caused by their malfunctioning equipment and their operator. And by malfunctioning equipment I imply the operational use of a vehicle in an area it was not rated for operation, thus why it got stuck.

  1. Not talking lawsuit but negligent behavior and charging him with a misdemeanor for causing the fire. But we all know that won’t happen. I ask myself what would have happened if it was just a regular person, perhaps utility or contract worker on a job. I guess we will hold some public servants or citizens to a higher standard than we do others.

    1. He wasn’t trying to endanger everyone – apparently he’s just stupid. That’s a-ok for a cop apparently, but not us regular citizens.

      1. He was working, and though their actions were stupid they are protected like almost every employee would be, but the actions will cost the employer, EPSO, as they are financially responsible, for their stupid employee’s actions. This deputy may not be long for this agency. Probably will be hired in Teller County as another second chance employee.

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