'Purposely set' fire chars Bancroft Park bandshell; city officials investigating
This was the conclusion of Colorado Springs Fire Investigator Jacob Pullfer later Jan. 27. Using the official category of “incendiary fire,” he said the blaze was started at the northwest corner of the stage, using “a lot of trash and paper sorts of things. It looks like stuff that somebody pulled out of the trash.”
No one was injured in the incident. Police are investigating, but no suspects or arrests have been announced.
An initial fire report stated that the bandshell, which was built in 1935 featuring locally quarried Manitou greenstone, was “fully engulfed in flames” when firefighters arrived. Pulfer added that “the whole stage was on fire.”
Later on the morning of Jan. 27, City Parks and police officials taped off the open area in front of the bandshell and boarded up the burned-out gaps in the wood siding around the stage to prevent entry.
The stage itself is concrete and was not damaged, Pulfer said. The stonework also appears to have escaped harm.
Interviewed at the scene about five hours after the fire, City Parks maintenance supervisor Jeff Dickson said that an insurance company is being called in to assess the damage. The intent is to implement repairs as soon as possible after that, he explained, adding that the incident was "very unfortunate.”
Captain Steve Wilch, a Fire Department spokesperson, said that the fire was mainly fought by crews from five fire stations (including 3 and 5 on West Colorado Avenue), along with specialized resources. A total of 31 firefighters were on hand, he said.
Located on the north side of West Colorado's 2400 block, the 1.2-acre Bancroft Park and its bandshell are frequently used for major Old Colorado City events, including Territory Days, the Farmers Market, the Paint the Town Blue live music series, Taste of OCC (an annual fundraiser for park improvements) and the Coronado High Homecoming Parade.
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