COSTILLA COUNTY - The man arrested on arson charges related to the Spring Fire told investigators he had made a fire pit in the ground to cook meat Tuesday night, the day before the fire started, according to an arrest affidavit from Costilla County.
The Spring Fire, which began June 27, has burned more than 56,000 acres just east of Fort Garland. It has also destroyed at least 25 residences, according to the affidavit.
Jesper Jorgensen, 52, said he used the fire pit to cook meat for several hours that night and then covered the fire pit to smother the fire. He told investigators he stirred the contents around to make sure it was out and "he saw no smoke, so be believed the fire was out and no longer a threat" according to the affidavit.
Investigators asked Jorgensen if he poured water on the fire. He said "no," according to the report.
On Wednesday, June 27, Jorgensen said he woke up from a nap around noon and smelled fire and got out of his camper and saw the fire was in sage bushes about 20 feet away from his fire pit.
Jorgensen ran toward the fire and attempted to smother it with a blanket, according to the affidavit. When that blanket caught fire, Jorgensen threw it in the fire, the affidavit said.
He reported the fire and when contacted by deputies from the Costilla County Sheriff's office. Jorgensen had burn injuries on his right arm and calf, according to the report. There was also a burn mark on his chest.
Deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed an immigration detainer on Jorgensen, who is from Denmark. That means that ICE seeks to take custody of Jorgensen if he is released from local custody for any reason.
According to the arrest affidavit, Jorgensen is in the U.S. illegally because his Visa expired.
When asked if he thought the fire he used to cook his meat could have started the large fire now burning he said, "no," the affidavit says.
"He was sure the fire was out the day before, and there was no way it could have caused the fire," Jorgenson told investigators.
The latest updates on the fire can be found here.