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Arraignment set for man accused of starting North Turkey Creek Fire

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By Deborah Swearingen

An arraignment has been set for the man accused of lighting Roman candles that started the North Turkey Creek Fire on March 22.

Andrew Askins, 18, was charged in late April with two class-4 felonies of second-degree arson in connection with lighting fireworks while Jeffco was in a stage-2 fire ban.

He appeared before a county judge for a June 7 disposition hearing, and the case was bound over to district court, according to Pam Russell, spokeswoman with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.

A class-4 felony carries the potential of a sentence of two to six years in prison.

“But of course, prison is not mandatory,” Russell said previously.

Around 1 p.m. March 22, Jeffco Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Ojard was dispatched to a fire near the intersection of southbound U.S. 285 and North Turkey Creek Road. The fire ultimately grew to about 7 acres. Though it was 100 percent contained the same day, it burned an outbuilding, storage unit and two vehicles. Eight residences and several businesses were evacuated, and 11 animals were rescued, according to information from the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office.

Fifteen fire trucks, 34 firefighters and eight support personnel from six agencies assisted in responding to the fire, according to the arrest affidavit. It closed all lanes of north- and southbound U.S. 285 for about an hour.

Askins returns to court on July 17 for a 1 p.m. arraignment, where he will be informed of the charge and asked to enter a plea.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.