Affidavit: Spring Fire suspect used fire pit in ground day before blaze started, was in US illegally

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Jesper Joergensen (Photo: Costilla County Sheriff's Office)

COSTILLA COUNTY, Colo. — The man arrested on arson charges in connection to the Spring Fire told authorities that he used a fire pit two feet in the ground to cook meat the day before the massive fire started, according to an arrest affidavit.

Jesper Joergensen, 52, said that he used the fire pit to cook for several hours and then covered it to smother the fire. He said that he made sure it was out and added that “he saw no smoke, so be believed the fire was out and no longer a threat,” according to the affidavit.

Joergensen told investigators that he did not put water on the fire.

The man said he woke up on June 27 and smelled fire from his camper. He said he spotted the fire in bushes about 20 feet from his fire pit. He told investigators that he ran toward the fire and attempted to put it out with a blanket.

After the blanket caught fire, Joergensen “threw it into the fire,” the affidavit said.

Authorities say that Joergensen reported the fire to officials but had burn injuries on his right arm and calf, along with a burn mark on his chest, according to the report.

He denied setting the fire intentionally and told authorities he used the fire to cook his meat and nothing else adding that he “was sure the fire was out the day before and there is no way it could have started the fire.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials placed an immigration detainer on the man on Sunday. The affidavit said that Joergensen, who is from Denmark, was in America illegally because his Visa expired.

The Spring Fire grew to over 56,000 acres as of Monday morning.

The fire, which started on June 27 east of Fort Garland and southeast of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, forced people in several areas to evacuate in Costilla and Huerfano counties.

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