Man arrested on suspicion of arson after apartment fire on Yampa Street

Scott Franz
The early morning blaze was confined to one unit in the Residences of Old Town in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Scott Franz

— Steamboat Springs Police Department officers believe a highly intoxicated man who was trying to cook a meal is to blame for an early morning apartment fire on Yampa Street.

After everyone made it out of the Residences of Old Town unit safely Wednesday morning with the help of police, officers arrested John Glenn Widmer, 34, on suspicion of fourth-degree arson and reckless endangerment.

When police and firefighters arrived at the apartments at around 12:30 a.m., they found smoke pouring from the apartment and a man pulling Widmer away from the fire.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Routt County Court, officers believe Widmer was heavily intoxicated.

Police said they found Widmer on the ground laughing, and he told them he “was just trying to cook.”

Police helped another man out of the apartment who was still passed out on a bed.

An officer then attempted to interview Widmer, but he “continued the laugh and then became belligerent,” according to the affidavit.

The other man who was passed out in the apartment told police he and Widmer had been drinking at a nearby bar prior to the fire and that Widmer was responsible for it.

“During the investigation Widmer continued to be belligerent with the Steamboat Springs Fire Department members as well as the Steamboat Springs Police officers,” the affidavit states. “Widmer was clearly intoxicated and had no regards to his actions. Widmer made another statement to the effect of, ‘I don’t care this is just a government building, who cares.'”

Widmer was then transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center for a medical evaluation.

He was booked into the Routt County Jail shortly after.

Police Sgt. Scott Middleton said the fire caused significant damage to the apartment.

During his advisement in Routt County Court Wednesday afternoon, Widmer told Judge James Garrecht “there is no way I set the place on fire.”

“Something is messed up,” he said.

He then said he didn’t recall a fire.

“Did our place get burned down or something?,” Widmer asked. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Garrecht offered Widmer a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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