Arson suspected in homeless camp fire

ohn Clark Fontenot, 59 of Alamosa was arrested Friday on alleged arson charges near the scene of a fire at the Saint Benedict’s homeless camp in south Alamosa. APD Corporal Dominic Khoketkham, left, examines a bottle of pills found on Fontenot while assisted by Community Service Officer Fabian Juarez. Photo by Keith Cerny.

Man arrested near scene

ALAMOSA — A suspected arson fire destroyed at least three tents and make-shift shelters Friday morning at the Saint Benedict’s homeless camp behind the Alamosa Recreation Center.

John Clark Fontenot, 59, of Alamosa was arrested and is being held at the Alamosa County Detention Center on an alleged second-degree arson charge, a Class 4 felony, according to the Alamosa Police Department. Bond was set at $10,000. Officers on scene said a witness identified the suspect.

Members of the APD and Alamosa Fire Department responded to the fire about 11:40 a.m. to find the temporary structures fully engulfed in flames according to AFD Captain Devin Haynie. The blaze was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported during the incident.

Haynie said AFD responded with 10 personnel and three fire trucks and were assisted by one truck and three personnel with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC).

Both the AFD and DFPC, as well as Mosca-Hooper Fire, had responded to a structure fire earlier Friday about eleven miles north of here where a chicken coop burnt to the ground.

Captain Haynie said the homeowners just off Highway 17 were able to allow the chickens to escape shortly after the fire started. A heat lamp in use in the building is the suspected cause of the fire.

At least three tents or other make-shift shelters were found fully engulfed in flames late Friday morning in a suspected arson fire at the Saint Benedict’s homeless camp behind the Alamosa Recreation Center.

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