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Arson cases ongoing

Police investigation into high school, Country Mall fires continues

Collin Smith

The Craig Police Department’s investigation into a February fire at the Moffat County High School auditorium remains open, a police official said Thursday.

In April, the Police Department announced it had sufficient reason to suspect a fire that swept through the high school auditorium was the result of arson.

The department’s findings were based on its own investigation with assistance from Craig Fire/Rescue and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, and reports filed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and PT&C Forensic Consulting Services.

PT&C Forensic was hired by Moffat County School District’s insurance company, Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool, which has agreed to pay for all renovations and repairs.

Mark Rydberg, school district finance director, said the damages are estimated at $500,000. Crews hired by PT&C have begun working on the facility and are scheduled to finish by Aug. 27.

The fire scorched nearly all of the auditorium’s inside ceiling and left burn marks on about one-third of the outside roof.

No other part of the high school was damaged, but the auditorium was immediately closed.

John Forgay, a sergeant with the Police Department, said there are several people of interest in the case.

A class of students, as well as a cleaning crew and other people, were at the high school the night of the fire, so officers have a “long list” of people to look at.

The Police Department is the only agency working on the case now, Forgay added.

Local law enforcement also is still actively investigating a suspected Nov. 25, 2007, arson fire that destroyed the former Country Mall, 356 Ranney St.

Police Department Detective Ken Johnson said he and an investigator hired by the property’s insurance company, Nebraska-based Continental Divide Insurance, are pursuing any new leads that come up.

There are no suspects in the case, but the Police Department has people of interest that include anyone who had a financial stake in the Country Mall, such as property owners and businesses that leased space.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.


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