Christopher Padgett accused of racking up nine arson counts in three blocks
Christopher Padgett, eighteen, is accused of being a busy boy.
The Denver District Attorney's Office is charging Padget with nine counts of arson related to blazes all set on the same night within three blocks of each other in the Park Hill neighborhood.
The Denver Police Department account can be found in a probable cause statement on view below, along with more photos and details.
Just shy of 2 a.m. on April 8, the report says, the Denver Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire on the 4600 block of East 23rd Avenue.
The building in question appears to have been a warehouse related to Spinelli's Market. CBS4 reports that it sustained considerable damage.
From the Spinelli's Market Facebook page.
That should have been more than enough to keep firefighters busy. But just as they were arriving at the address in question, more alerts came through about vehicle fires within a block or two.
How many? The probable cause statement counts seven, and judging by this photo shared by CBS4, the damage was considerable:
Courtesy of CBS4
As more personnel, including police officers, flooded the scene, a sergeant happened to notice a young man -- Padgett -- hiding behind a car near one of the flaming vehicles.
When the sarge approached, Padgett did the only sensible thing: He ran away. But with officers everywhere, he was soon taken into custody. The cops who brought him in noted that his clothing smelled strongly of smoke and he had matches and a lighter on his person.
Later that morning, the report says Padgett was questioned and admitted to setting at least four of the fires. But he's being charged with firing up seven, along with two structures; CBS4 mentions a garage, as well as a bush that has seen better days.
A prank that got out of control or a sign of a serious fire obsession? Hard to say -- but Padgett faces more than a slap on the wrist. He's being charged with one count of first-degree arson, for which a conviction carries up to twelve years behind bars, and nine counts of second-degree arson, each of which could earn him another six years.
Padgett was released from custody on a $50,000 bond and will appear in court next Tuesday to be formally advised of the charges against him. As such, the heat is on.
Here's a larger look at Padgett's booking photo, followed by the aforementioned probable cause statement.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.