This letter is in response to the April 25 story in The Cortez Journal concerning the arsonist getting a “slap on wrist.” It seems to us that it is more of a slap in the face to the firefighters that responded to the fire.
Firefighters from Cortez, Dolores, Lewis, Mancos and Towaoc spent several hours working hard together to combat the effects of one person’s deliberate act. These men and women risked their lives to contain the fire James Alexander started. For several days after the fire, investigators from the Cortez Fire Department, the Cortez Police Department, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department and Colorado Bureau of Investigations worked diligently, at the cost of taxpayers, to determine the cause of the fire. The admitted actions of Alexander needlessly endangered the lives of local emergency responders.
Yes, firefighters have an inherently risky profession, but that does not mean they should be made to feel that their lives are meaningless. That is exactly what this latest court decision has done. For Judge Walker not to impose jail time despite Alexander having admitted to committing the arson is a crime within itself. This is yet another example of letting arsonists get way with a crime.
The man responsible for starting the Roatcat Fire was also let off with a slap on the wrist. Being limited to not having contact with fire in the future is not a fair punishment for his reckless act and endangerment of many peoples lives.
We were under the impression that when you commit a crime, you do the time! Alexander started the fire and therefore he should be in prison!
Jeff Vandevoorde & Charles Balke