8th suspicious fire in 5 months near Green Mountain

Firefighters say 2.6 acre blaze caused by humans
Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 00:32:55-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- West Metro Fire is investigating the eighth suspicious fire in five months in the Green Mountain area, and neighbors are concerned about their safety.

Firefighters quickly got the blaze under control, but it burned 2.6 acres and forced the evacuation of a small office building, as flames approached it in windy conditions.

"It's terrifying. It's just too close to home," said Marlana Schneider, who lives a block away from where the flames burned. "There are rumors there is an arsonist who waits for windy days. I don't know if that's true, but this is scary."

West Metro Fire spokeswoman Ronda Sholting said investigators do not know yet if the fire was set intentionally or accidentally or if it is linked to previous suspicious fires in the area.

"We have no evidence right now that points us to any particular person. We are still investigating the fires," said Sholting. "Eighty-five percent of fires are human-caused so if people would be more careful with what they do we wouldn’t have those fires."

This is the latest in a series of fires in the area, starting last November with five suspicious fires in one month.

On Nov. 28, crews fought the largest fire, seen all over the Denver Metro, burning 96 acres and forcing thousands of evacuations.

Three months later, on Feb. 20, crews fought two suspicious fires in one day.

Almost two months later after the last, this most recent fire is also causing concerns.

"Of course, we are all concerned," said Joe Margotte, a board member of the Green Mountainside Civic Association, who was evacuated from his house last Fall. "We're encompassed by open space. We sit on a peninsula and there's open space all around us. In this area you don't need much to start a fire that could do a lot of damage."

Some neighbors said they believe the most recent fire was more likely caused by kids smoking in the field, but they are still organizing brush mitigation next week and considering patrols and security cameras.

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