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Kremmling man accused of leaving fires unattended charged with 24 counts of arson

Despite a ban of all open burning Grand County, Christopher Linsmayer is accused of igniting 12 slash piles near his home.

KREMMLING, Colo. — The man accused of setting fire to 12 slash plies and then leaving them burning unattended near his Grand County home late last month has been formally charged with 24 counts of arson.

Grand County District Attorney Matt Karzen announced Tuesday that his office charged Christopher Linsmayer, 68, with 12 counts of felony fourth-degree arson and 12 counts of misdemeanor fourth-degree arson.

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

The charges are in connection with fire ignitions that were in violation of a fire ban and occurred between Oct. 27 and 29, in the Gorewood Subdivision in Grand County.

“Those of us that make our homes in the mountains and forests understand just how important it is to honor fire restrictions," said Karzen. "Violating those restrictions puts residents and first responders at great risk, which is simply unacceptable.”

Just before 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, Grand County Sheriff's Office 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.

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, who is the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 15.

Last week, McCann's office released the following statement about 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."

This is not the first time that Linsmayer has been accused of violating burning restrictions.

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.

RELATED: Colorado wildfires: How you can help those impacted

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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