COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The head of Waldo Canyon fire's investigative team said Friday the group is still missing a critical piece that would lead to an arrest.
Lt. Adrian Vasquez said in a press conference the team is missing a critical tip from someone with information about the person(s) who started the fire. The tip could lead to an arrest.
The community is a few days away from the one-year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon fire. The fire burned more than 18,000 acres, killed two people and destroyed 346 homes in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in west Colorado Springs.
Vasquez said the question of who is responsible for the fire weighs heavily on the task force leading the investigation. He wouldn't release details about the evidence they've found. He also would not say what his team believes started the fire. He said they are withholding information because that way, if someone does come forward, they can verify the person's story.
Soil samples were sent to Colorado Bureau of Investigation to determine if there were fire accelerants in the soils around the place police believe the fire started. He said that information would not be released.
"We have certainly collected all the evidence. We have our forensic information back. Right now, without someone coming forward, we are at a bit of a stall," said Vasquez.
Vasquez said he is optimistic the case will be solved. However, he said if someone does not come forward with the vital information investigators need, the case may never be solved.
The question of who is behind the devastation is still very alive in the neighborhoods around the burn scar.
"If it's somebody responsible, they need to be help accountable for it," said resident Cindy Rose. Her home was not destroyed in the fire but there are still daily reminders of its devastation.
"I think it's still very fresh especially with the anniversary coming up. We live right here," said Rose. "It was just so scary. The ash is still being blown down into our properties so that's a constant reminder."
A.J. Whelan lost two friends in last summer's fire. He said the fire didn't just affected his neighborhood, it affected the entire city.
"There is a lot of sadness up here and in the whole city," said Whelan.
He wants to know who's to blame for the fire.
"Seeing that my friends burned in the fire, it means more to me than a lot of people," said Whelan.
Investigators don't have answers yet, but Whelan stays optimistic.
"Yes, I think we will find out. They are going to have to announce something someday," he said.
If you have information, call the Police Waldo Canyon Fire tip line at 385-2222.