Arson suspect arrested in Roatcap Fire

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Icicles formed on a tree outside the Cain home where water was left running to help protect their house at 15975 Road 30 when they evacuated. Their house was one of the most threatened by the Roatcap Fire. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Icicles formed on a tree outside the Cain home where water was left running to help protect their house at 15975 Road 30 when they evacuated. Their house was one of the most threatened by the Roatcap Fire.

The Montezuma County Sheriff's Office arrested a 53-year-old Dolores man in connection with starting the Roatcap Fire.

The suspect was identified by the Montezuma County Court as Roger Stratton.

The suspect was previously identified as a “person of interest.” The arrest warrant was issued for fourth-degree arson, a felony.

The fire, which started on Wednesday morning near County Roads 29 and P, burned more than 400 acres and forced the evacuation of around 30 homes.

Lt. Ted Meador said the suspect was taken into custody shortly before 3 p.m., and was held at the Montezuma County Detention Center on $3,000 bail. He has since bonded out.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell said the fire was not set intentionally, but said that Stratton needed to be held accountable for his careless actions.

Earlier reports that the blaze was sparked by a trash fire that went out of control were inaccurate, Meador said.

As of last night, the blaze was 70 percent contained and evacuees were allowed to return to their homes.