Richmond man arraigned on charges of causing two-alarm fire

Booking photo for Derek Parkinson (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 49-year-old Richmond man has been ordered to stay in jail, after being charged with causing a fire that destroyed a garage and damaged his grandmother’s home. Derek G. Parkinson is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail, since being arrested after the fire Tuesday night.

Parkinson was arraigned in 1st District Court Thursday afternoon, appearing by video from jail. He was charged with possession or use of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony; and two misdemeanors for reckless burning and reckless endangerment.

According to an affidavit, when deputies arrived on the scene of the two-alarm fire, near 311 N. State St., the garage and several vehicles were engulfed in flames. They could also hear small explosions going off in the garage.

Neighbors were the first to see the fire and called 911. They went into the residence and helped safely evacuate an elderly woman who lives there, and Parkinson, who was in the basement.

Fire fighters were able to keep flames contained to the garage, which was a total loss. The home also sustained significant smoke damage.

The arrest affidavit stated that Parkinson told deputies that he had been on the southwest corner of the house, grinding on some metal stairs he had built for the home. He noticed that pine needles on the ground near where he was grinding were starting on fire. He claimed that he used his boot to extinguish the flames before going inside.

While investigating, deputies noticed Parkinson showed signs of impairment. The pupils in his eyes were very narrow. He also appeared to “nod off” and fall asleep, while being questioned. They also discovered drug paraphernalia in his bedroom.

After deputies obtained a warrant, Parkinson agreed to take a drug test, which was positive for methamphetamine.

The affidavit also states that deputies were called to the same residence in December 2017. The investigation revealed Parkinson was burned badly after accidentally igniting some explosives he was making in the garage.

It concludes that Parkinson should be held without bail because he constitutes “a substantial danger to any other person or to the community.” It also described him as a flight risk, after he told deputies he was going to leave town.

During Thursday’s arraignment, Parkinson was ordered to remain in jail. He was assigned a public defender and ordered to appear in court July 23.

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