Alabama transients start Cold Springs Fire near Nederland


By Max R. Weller

Read the report of the arrests for arson in the Daily Camera and be sure to watch the video: Cold Springs Fire suspect on day before arrest: ‘We’d never seen anything like it’ (you just can’t make this stuff up). Copied in its entirety below:

At the side of South Hendricks Street in Nederland on Saturday, three transients from Vinemont, Ala., carrying backpacks and two kittens, agreed to an interview with a Daily Camera reporter who was soliciting witness commentary on the Cold Springs Fire near Nederland.

“Oh yeah, we seen around where it started,” said Elizabeth Burdeshaw, 20. “We were pretty close.”

It looked “like the whole mountain range was on fire,” added Jimmy Andrew Suggs, 28. “It was crazy. We’d never seen anything like it.”

About 24 later, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office announced that Suggs and the third Alabaman, Zackary Ryan Kuykendall, 26, are in fact suspected of igniting that blaze.

The two were arrested Sunday, each facing a charge of fourth-degree arson, a felony.

As of Sunday evening, officials said the fire had spread across 536 acres and prompted close to 2,000 evacuations.

Fire investigators and sheriff’s detectives say the fire originated at some point shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at an illegal campsite on private property near the intersection of Peak to Peak Highway and Cold Springs Road.

The Vinemont trio had established a campfire overnight Thursday, into Friday morning, the sheriff’s office reported, but Suggs and Kuykendall “did not ensure that the fire was properly extinguished by dousing it with water, or making sure the ashes were cool to the touch before leaving the site.” 

It is believed, the sheriff’s office added, that high winds in the area, combined with the weather that has hovered above 90 degrees for much of the weekend, allowed the fire to smolder longer than it might have otherwise.

Burdeshaw is not facing charges, the sheriff said, “as she did not have any involvement in creating, maintaining or extinguishing the campfire.”

Suggs and Kuykendall were booked into the Boulder County Jail on Sunday, and will make their first court appearance Monday afternoon.

This isn’t the first run-in with law enforcement for the pair: Kuykendall was arrested four years ago and later convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl, according to Alabama criminal records, and the Cullman Times newspaper reported Suggs was arrested in 2012 for unlawful possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

In a briefing to media soon after announcing the arrests, Sheriff Joe Pelle told reporters that community tips had led police to Suggs and Kuykendall, who were seen at the Nederland Middle/Senior High School evacuation center on Saturday. 

“They were hanging out with nowhere to go,” Pelle said.

Kukyendall had mentioned in the group’s interview with the Camera a day earlier that “our car got impounded.”

Pelle said that investigators believed the suspects tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out by piling dirt and rocks on top of it. 

Zackary Ryan Kuykendall

Zackary Ryan Kuykendall (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

Jimmy Andrew Suggs

Jimmy Andrew Suggs (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

BTW, to give credit where it’s due: A couple of commenters on the Daily Camera’s Facebook page uncovered and posted info there on the transients’ criminal records from Alabama — then the DC “reporter” picked up on that for this story.

Sheriff Pelle says they had nowhere to go, but it’s certain that this trio of inbred transients would have found their way to Bridge House in downtown Boulder sooner or later, if they hadn’t already done so. I bet Ms. Burdeshaw will be there tomorrow!

Think about this, next time Isabel McDevitt or any of the other do-gooders ask you to donate to their UNWORTHY causes . . .




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