Colorado fire destroys 2 more homes; accused arsonist: ‘It had to been us’

BOULDER, Colo., July 12 (UPI) — The Cold Springs Fire in Colorado has destroyed two additional homes as one of the men accused of arson admitted he and his friend were likely the cause.

Jimmy Andrew Suggs, 28, and Zackary Ryan Kuykendall, 26, both of Vinemont, Ala., are facing charges of fourth-degree arson, a class four felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of six years.

Elizabeth Burdeshaw, 20, also from Vinemont, camped with the men but is not facing charges as she was not involved with making, maintaining or dousing the fire. She was ticketed for trespassing.

“Tonight’s Cold Springs Fire briefing: 606 acres, 5 homes and 3 outbuildings burned. Firefighters held the line in strong winds,” Boulder County Sheriff Division Chief Heidi Prentup said in a statement. As of Monday evening, the fire was uncontained.

A Boulder County judge ordered Suggs to be held on a $150,000 bond, while Kuykendall was held on a $200,000 bond.

The Cold Springs Fire has caused an estimated $900,000 in damage. About 2,000 people remain evacuated.

Both men are also facing second-degree trespassing charges. Suggs faces an additional charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Burdeshaw said the trio traveled to Colorado for a vacation to “read their Bibles and grow closer to God,” adding the men did not intentionally start the fire.

Kuykendall had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to report a recent job change. He was registered as a sex offender in 2014 after he plead guilty to statutory rape for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

According to an arrest affidavit, authorities asked the three to show investigators where they camped. During a survey of campsites, Suggs pointed toward the fire at a hillside.

“That’s right where we were,” Suggs said. “It had to been us (sic). There was no one else around.”

Authorities determined the origin of the fire was at a campsite near the Peak-to-Peak Highway and Cold Springs Road. The campers camped overnight from Thursday to Friday morning. The Cold Springs Fire was first reported to emergency services at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett on Monday said expert arson investigators will assist police in the case.

“We will make sure there is a very thorough investigation into the facts in terms of what the evidence is and we will make a determination on charges once we see what the evidence is,” Garnett said. “The sheriff’s office has been working pretty hard to fight this fire, so we have not had a chance to have a full investigation.”

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