COSTILLA CO., Colo. — The man accused of starting the Spring Fire, which has grown to more than 100,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes in southern Colorado, faces 141 first-degree arson charges, which is a class 3 felony.
Jesper Joergensen, 52, of Denmark, received the charges at a hearing Thursday afternoon, according to court documents. He is being held on a $50,000 bond. The document outlining the formal charges shows that Joergensen faces one count of arson for each building that was destroyed.
He has a two-day preliminary hearing set for Aug. 16, 12th Judicial District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen told Denver7.
She said she expects further charges and is awaiting additional information from Huerfano County residents, and said 3rd Judicial District Attorney Henry Solano has been working with her on the case as well.
Colorado courts spokesman Rob McCallum said a status conference in the case was set for Aug. 2 at 4 p.m. He also said that all the judges in the 12th Judicial District have recused themselves from the case and that Senior Judge Gregory Lyman will handle the case.
Joergensen was arrested July 7 on suspicion of arson charges in connection to the massive fire. His visa had allegedly expired, so Immigration and Customs Enforcement put an immigration detainer on him following his arrest. He had told authorities he'd built a fire pit that got out of control.
As of Thursday afternoon, the fire was 83 percent contained. It’s burning about five miles east of Fort Garland. More than 2,000 homes have been evacuated during the fire, which destroyed 132 homes.