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Security-Widefield homeowner says deputy’s car sparked Alturas fire on his property

A helicopter makes a water drop over a hot spot at the scene of the May 12, 2022, Alturas Fire...
A helicopter makes a water drop over a hot spot at the scene of the May 12, 2022, Alturas Fire near the Colorado Springs Airport.(KKTV)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:34 PM MDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 7:39 PM MDT
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SECURITY WIDEFIELD, Colo. (KKTV) - Stephen Martin says he was using his jeep to clear trails to run on his 20-acre lot when he first saw the smoke on Thursday in Security Widefield.

“I turned around and I saw the smoke and I freaked out knowing it was definitely coming from my property,” Martin explained.

Martin says he was racing back towards his home when he first saw the flaming patrol car.

“So, I came back up here. I raced around the corner and saw a car on fire. It kind of blew my mind. I didn’t understand what was going on,” Martin added.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy was called to the area on a report of a “suspicious vehicle”. The deputy’s patrol car got stuck in a ditch on the property and the catalytic converter beneath the car sparked what would become a 182-acre fire. The suspicious vehicle in question belonged to Martin, and he was on his own property.

Thankfully, no structures were lost or damaged in the Alturas fire. The fire started roughly 100 feet away from a neighborhood, but strong northeast winds pushed the flames away from homes.

It also threatened an Amazon warehouse and the Colorado Springs Airport, but firefighters used air support so save both of those structures.

“I knew everything was going to be taken care of,” Martin said. “Especially once they started bringing the firefighters in and of course the helicopter coming in. I knew everything was going to be all right.”

Martin says he spoke with Deputies later that day and explained that he was on his own property. The Sheriff’s Office says the deputy whose car sparked the fire will not be cited or be placed on administrative leave because fire investigators found the cause of the fire was accidental.

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