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Human activity may have caused three recent fires

Apr 17, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Riverton Volunteer Fire Department responded to three weekend fires that may have been started by humans.

No one was injured in any of the incidents.

The first was reported at about 6:30 p.m. Friday in the 1600 block of Gannett Drive, where a child apparently had been lighting fires along a canal bank.

"From what I understand, a little kid was playing around, lighting stuff on fire, and it got away from him," RVFD chief Mike Hutchison said Tuesday. "It was just a grass fire. It really wasn't all that much, but it made a pretty good spectacle."

Hutchison didn't think any citations were issued as a result of the blaze, which burned some tall grass and brush as well as a cottonwood tree that had to be cut down. Firefighters were on scene for less than an hour.

Dumpster fire

At 11:50 p.m. Friday, crews were called to a Dumpster fire in the alley behind Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, 709 N. Federal Blvd. Hutchison said Dumpster fires almost always are suspicious in nature, though the incident could have been accidental.

"But there's really no way to investigate a Dumpster fire, per se, without digging through a bunch of garbage," he said with a laugh.

A specific cause of the fire was not determined.

Cardboard mountain

About six bales of cardboard boxes were involved in a fire at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday behind Kmart, 2020 N. Federal Blvd. Hutchison said the store was not damaged in the incident, which may have been human-caused.

"That was pretty much the only way that could have happened," he said. "It's possible that maybe somebody would have thrown a cigarette butt over there to start it accidentally, (but) we considered it likely someone purposely lit them on fire."

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where and how the blaze began due to the makeup of the materials involved. Hutchison said the cardboard boxes had been tightly compacted, then banded together into large bales. Firefighters had to cut each bale apart to ensure the fire was out, and Hutchison said the scene was covered in cardboard by the end of the operation.

"There was a mountain of cardboard boxes," he said. "I'm sure they had a heck of a time cleaning everything up."

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