ALAMOSA — The Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest on suspicion of arson in connection with one of the multiple fires occurring in the Alamosa area on Tuesday.
Authorities took Ruby Jo Cordova, 31, into custody on a first-degree arson charge in connection with the April 17th structure fire at 8132 County Road 110 (Old Airport Road), which was one of two structure fires Alamosa firefighters responded to on Tuesday in addition to a massive brush fire and other calls. The residence was destroyed in the fire.
Sheriff Detective Corporal Sam Coffman stated on Wednesday that authorities believe that fire was intentionally started during the evacuations that occurred as a result of the brush fire. He stated that this house was in the “pre evacuation” area, but the fire at this residence prompted broader evacuations at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday from La Due Avenue to Old Airport Road and from 20th Street to Ninth Street.
Investigation is still ongoing, but Cordova was arrested and is being held on an arson charge.
Fire ban in effect
Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson also reminded area residents that a Stage 1 fire ban is in effect until further notice in Alamosa County. Stage 1 is the least restrictive of the fire bans, he explained, but it bans open burning in the unincorporated areas of Alamosa County. (The municipalities of Alamosa and Hooper have their own fire policies.)
Stage 1 does not prohibit activities such as barbecuing, which are prohibited in more restrictive fire bans, but it does not allow ditch or trash burning or other open fires in the county.
There are no permits or exemptions from the fire ban.
Jackson said the fire ban is not something he enacted lightly and only after consulting with Fire Chief Don Chapman and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control Official Devin Haynie. They based their decision on scientific information from several sources such as the weather service, Jackson explained.
See the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Facebook page for updates and more information.
Brush fire update
In a written report to the Alamosa city council Wednesday night, Chief Chapman listed the 12 South brush fire as 100 percent contained as of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Crews remained on scene on Wednesday to work hot spots and will continue to do so in coming days, especially as wind gusts today (Thursday) are expected to range from 20 to 40 miles per hour. Smoke could still be visible from the area.
The council, city staff and public had words of praise during Wednesday night’s city council meeting for the firefighters and those assisting them with their efforts the previous day. Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks said although the city did not officially activate an emergency center during the April 17th incident, staff conducted emergency operations including public information outreach, coordinating with Red Cross in case evacuees had to be sheltered overnight and preparing to staff crews in shifts for 24-hour response if necessary.
“I think we’ve got a great team, and we had it handled,” Brooks said.
In addition to firefighters, city public works crews assisted with the efforts, and other agencies such as the county road and bridge and other area fire departments came to Alamosa’s aid.
“With teamwork we got through this,” added Alamosa City Councilman Jan Vigil who commended the Alamosa Fire Department, Alamosa Police Department, Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office, Alamosa public works crews and Valley fire departments.
Councilman Charles Griego added that it was a commendable effort in keeping everyone safe as well.
Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman also thanked city and county crews and first responders from all over the Valley who came to work as a team to fight the fires. He also said he was glad no one was hurt and no lives lost.
“That was because of the efforts of the entire team,” he said.
Vigil added that this incident also stressed the point that the city must take measures to institute water restrictions as dry conditions persist. “Let’s be a leader in the Valley,” he said.