GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — Denver District Attorney Beth McCann's husband was referred to the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office for allegedly violating a fire ban in Grand County close to where the East Troublesome Fire is burning.
The Grand County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing a sheriff’s office investigation into 12 potential fourth-degree arson charges for Christopher Linsmayer, 68, in connection with fire ignitions between and including Oct. 27 and 29, the office said.
"Our office has not yet received all of the investigative case materials," District Attorney Matt Karzen said. "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."
The Grand County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the Gorewood Subdivision off of County Road 14S on Oct. 27 around 4:20 p.m. for a possible fire burning near a home. When deputies and the Kremmling Fire Department arrived, they found multiple unattended slash piles actively burning, the sheriff's office said.
The fire department couldn't get a water truck up to the piles because of weather conditions, so firefighters had to hike in to put the flames out using hand tools, shovels and the snow on the ground to extinguish the fire, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies tried to find the property owner, later identified as Linsmayer, and learned he left the home earlier in the morning.
The following day, a deputy returned to the home around 12 p.m. and found 12 slash piles, four still smoldering and smoking from under the ground. The Kremmling Fire Department responded again and was able to dig up the soil and further extinguish the piles.
Deputies tried to call Linsmayer and were later advised he'd spoken with his attorney regarding the situation, the Grand County Sheriff's Office said.
Carolyn Tyler, a spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney's Office, released the following statement:
"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 sheriff's office said there is no threat of the fire spreading in the area at this time. Deputies and firefighters will follow up and check on the area throughout the week to verify the threat has been minimized.
Court records show Linsmayer previously faced two counts of having an open fire without a burn permit in Grand County, stemming from a November 2016 incident. Those charges were dismissed by the district attorney in March 2017, according to records.
According to Sky-Hi News reports, a 10-acre wildfire, known as the Gore Ridge Fire, started on Linsmayer’s property in September 2016 and spread to a neighboring property, causing over $100,000 in damage.
He was also charged in August 2019 with fourth-degree arson and violating a county ordinance, according to court records.
Sky-Hi News also reported Linsmayer was charged that time for an incident in which he burned a slash pile out of season on his property on a Red Flag warning day.
The arson charge was amended to include two counts of the unspecified county ordinance—Class 2 petty offenses to which he pleaded guilty in February 2020. The court records show he was fined $1,500 for the ordinance violations. He was also required to make a $1,000 donation to Mountain Family Center or pay victim restitution.