Harp Moving Fire Started with Out-of-Control Campfire, Investigation Concludes

May 16, 2017

The fire that gutted the Harp Moving and Storage Building in Cortez at the end of March probably started after a campfire behind the building spread out of control.

That’s according to investigations by the Cortez Fire Protection District and the Cortez Police Department. Cortez Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Bittle says vagrants are known to start small fires in that area to keep warm during the winter. Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane says no one was present when emergency crews arrived to the fire in the early morning hours, and the campers probably left once the fire spread. The city has closed the structure any access. Bittle says the owner and the insurance company are determining the building’s future

Note: The phrase "homeless person" in this story has been replaced with "vagrant" to more accurately reflect Bittle's comment.