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Kremmling man left 12 burning slash piles unattended near his home, sheriff's office says

Christopher Linsmayer could face up to 12 counts of arson. All open burning is prohibited under current fire restrictions.

KREMMLING, Colo. — A Kremmling man faces 12 misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree arson after he left numerous burning slash piles unattended, according to a release from the Grand County Sheriff's Office (GCSO).

Just before 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, GCSO said deputies were dispatched to the Gorewood Subdivision off of County Road 14S in Kremmling about a possible fire burning near a residence. 

Deputies, along with the Kremmling Fire Department (KFD), arrived and found multiple unattended slash piles actively burning near a residence, the sheriff's office said.

Due to weather conditions, KFD was unable to get a water truck near the burning slash piles or the residence they were surrounding, according to Grand County officials.

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KFD was able to get the slash piles knocked down using hand tools, shovels, and snow, temporarily extinguishing the flames. Deputies attempted to locate the owner of the property, later identified as Christopher Linsmayer, but couldn't. They later learned that Linsmayer had left the residence that morning, leaving the fires unattended, according to the sheriff's office.

Linsmayer is the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. Her office released the following statement regarding the situation.

"Ms. McCann asked that I convey her thanks to the Kremmling Fire Department and to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office for their response. She is thankful that no property was damaged nor any injuries sustained. This is a very difficult time for her and her family, and they are cooperating fully with the investigation. Because this is an open investigation, I cannot provide details or discuss this incident."

The next day, on Oct. 28, deputies returned to the residence and found a total of 12 slash piles, four of which were still smoldering and smoking from under the ground, the sheriff's office said.

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Kremmling Fire responded for the second time and dug up the soil in concerned areas to further extinguish the slash piles, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies tried to contact Linsmayer by phone and were advised that he had already spoken with his attorney regarding the situation, the sheriff's office said.

The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office said the case has been referred to their office.

“Our office has not yet received all of the investigative case materials. Upon receipt of those materials, we will assess what precise charges are supported by the evidence, and any appropriate charges will be formally filed with the court, but clearly, this is a serious problem," said District Attorney Matt Karzen in a statement.

In February of this year, court records show that Linsmayer pleaded guilty to arson charges related to an August 2019 incident. According to a prior report from SkiHi News, he burned a slash pile on a Red Flag Warning day.

In November 2016, Linsmayer was charged with open burning without a permit, but according to court records the charge was later dismissed.

Since mid-August, all of Grand County has been under a stage two fire ban, which forbids all open burning. Several large wildfires are still burning in Colorado, and the second-largest fire in Colorado history is burning about 40 miles away near Grand Lake in Grand County.

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