The fire that killed a young woman in Palisade was intentionally set, authorities say

Palisade fire 4
Courtesy Larry Robinson/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Fire crews respond to an apartment fire in Palisade, Friday, April 5, 2024. One person died in the blaze, which officials say was intentionally set. A suspect in the fire was later found dead.

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An apartment fire that killed a young woman was sparked by a separate explosion and fire intentionally ignited by a man who lived in the complex, police and fire officials said Wednesday. 

At a press conference, authorities said a preliminary investigation suggests the man used an accelerant, and the resulting blaze spread throughout the building on April 5, killing a woman identified as 18-year-old Kloey Weythman.

The suspect, 29-year-old Andrew Alderman, was found dead from an apparent suicide the same day near Leadville, which is hours away. 

Investigators said they are examining videos and social media posts that appear to show Alderman taking responsibility for the fire and alluding to his disagreement with a neighbor. Palisade Police Chief Jesse Stanford said the full details of the possible dispute are still unclear.

Stanford said police are trying to find answers quickly while being “very sensitive to our community, families that have been impacted, those who have been displaced.”

Homicide is almost unheard of in Palisade. Stanford said he’d “have to go back to the history books” to find a similar crime in the small Western Slope town of less than 3,000 people.

“There is one that is documented from the ’90s, so it's been a long time for a very small community like this," he said.

Palisade Fire Chief Charles Balke said the fire and deaths would be tragic no matter where they occurred, but noted that many people in the community likely know the victim or the suspect — and maybe both.

“We're a community that most people don't think that things of this nature could happen to, he said.

Town officials said residents displaced by the fire have been provided with temporary housing. The Red Cross has been helping residents since the day of the fire and is partnering with the city to take donations for those affected.