Denver DA’s Husband Faces Arson Charges For Unattended Fires On Mountain Property

Kremmling Signage
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The sign welcoming you to the Grand County town of Kremmling.

Christopher Linsmayer, the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, could face a handful of arson charges for burning slash piles on a family property in Kremmling earlier this week — less than a week after one of the largest wildfires in recorded state history swept through the nearby area.

Linsmayer, 68, a Grand County resident with a history of minor legal trouble, allegedly started several fires on his property between Tuesday and Thursday in violation of a local fire ban, said Grand County District Attorney Matt Karzen.

A records representative at the Grand County Sheriff’s Office confirmed an investigation, but said the entire case file was not yet complete and has not been sent to prosecutors.

“Upon receipt of those materials, we will assess what precise charges are supported by the evidence and any appropriate charges will be formally filed with the court, but clearly, this is a serious problem,” Karzen said.

McCann, in a statement through her spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler, said she wanted to thank the Kremmling Fire Department and the Grand County Sheriff for responding to the fires.

“She sincerely regrets the incident and is thankful that no property was damaged nor any injuries sustained,” Tyler said. “This is a very difficult time for her and her family and they are cooperating fully with the investigation. Because this is an open investigation, I cannot provide details or discuss the incident."

A Facebook post on the Grand County Sheriff’s page stated that deputies were dispatched to the family home in the Gorewood Subdivision on Tuesday regarding possible fires burning near a home. The weather conditions made it difficult for Kremmling Fire to get a water truck near the burning slash piles, but firefighters were able to hike in and put the flames out using hand tools, shovels and snow on the ground.

Deputies said they couldn’t find Linsmayer because he had left the house that morning, leaving the fires unattended.

A sheriff’s deputy returned Wednesday and found a total of 12 slash piles, four of which were still smoking. Firefighters responded a second time and extinguished the remaining piles using dirt.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The forested mountainsides all around and above Grand Lake bear the hallmarks of being burned by the East Troublesome, including these to the north on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.

The nearby East Troublesome Fire has scorched more than 192,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes in the town of Grand Lake and surrounding areas, including the homes of seven Grand County firefighters and dispatchers. It is only about 20 percent contained.

Linsmayer has faced arson charges before.

In 2019, records show that DA Karzen filed a 4th Degree arson charge against Linsmayer after he set a slash pile on fire on his property during a Red Flag warning day.

Three years before that, an investigation into the 10-acre Gore Ridge Fire revealed it may have started on his property. Linsmayer agreed to pay for wildfire suppression efforts after that fire, according to the Sky Hi News.

Linsmayer has other minor traffic and a harassment charge going back to the 1990s.

A call to his lawyer was not immediately returned.