No charges to be filed in Andrew fire | NevadaAppeal.com

No charges to be filed in Andrew fire

Karl Horeis

No charges will be pressed against a Washoe Valley man who ignited the Andrew fire, investigators said Friday.

Armand Otis was target shooting with friends Wednesday morning when steel-jacketed .223-caliber rounds hit rocks, causing sparks, according to authorities. Otis and two friends visiting from Canada tried to fight the fire before calling 911 on a cellular phone.

“There was no criminality, there was no malice, no intent. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance,” said Reno Fire Marshal Larry Farr, whose department has concluded its investigation.

“Certainly there was no intent to start a fire, so there won’t be any recommendation for charges. I’m sure if he knew then what he knows now he wouldn’t be out there target shooting in 45 mph winds.”

Armand declined to comment. He and his friends broke no laws Wednesday, Farr said. They were in an old mining area popular with target shooters. The area is not posted as congested.

Armand reported the fire, then stayed on scene to fill out reports with both the Reno Fire Department and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

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“He’s cooperating,” Farr said. “He’s very distraught over the whole situation.”

People who accidentally ignite destructive fires can be held liable for firefighting costs, Farr said. He listed Reno’s Peavine Mountain fire, which was caused by people using fireworks.

“They were conducting an illegal act so they were held for some of the suppression costs,” he said.

The Reno Fire Department has filed a federal emergency declaration as the first step toward getting fire-suppression costs reimbursed by the federal government.

“Then (the government) would be the ones that could pursue cost recovery,” Farr said. “And we certainly could pursue cost recovery for our portion of fire suppression costs.”

Total costs for the Andrew fire are estimated at $1,400,000 by the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch.

Seventy-six percent of the land burned by the Andrew fire is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The other 24 percent is private.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

Call for assistance

Affected homeowners can ask for assistance from the American Red Cross by

calling (775) 856-1000.