Thomas Howie charged with starting Crystal Fire, 15-year-old suspected in Pinery blazes
As the Crystal fire in Larimer County was finally winding down last week, authorities announced their suspicion that it was human-caused -- and now they think they've got the human who did it: Thomas Howie, 36. Meanwhile, Douglas County officials believe a fifteen-year old started numerous blazes in the Pinery subdivision -- but they don't feel the conflagrations are connected to the more-destructive Burning Tree fire.
Howie was reportedly burning debris at his parent's home when the fire began getting out of control. Instead of alerting authorities, he's said to have split -- but he turned himself in to authorities after an arrest warrant was issued in his name.
Regarding the Pinery matter, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office reveals that the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority has responded to three fires in open-space patches near the subdivision over the course of the past several weeks. No homes were damaged or even threatened, but because fire investigators concluded the blazes had been deliberately set, they put the area under surveillance -- and before long, they identified a fifteen-year-old as the alleged fire-starter.
Second-degree arson charges targeting the teen have been filed with the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, headed by Carol Chambers. Given that the office filed an arson charge against Jacob Christensen, age eleven, the latest suspect shouldn't expect gentle treatment.
No image for the teen due to his age, but here's a larger version of Howie's mug shot:
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Joel Ledermann charged with 4th-degree arson in Reservoir Road fire near Loveland."
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.