Deputies arrest Richmond man suspected of causing fire that destroyed garage and damaged home

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

Deputies have arrested a 49-year-old Richmond man, suspected of causing a two-alarm fire Tuesday night that destroyed a garage and caused damage to a home. Derek G. Parkinson was booked into the Cache County Jail.

Booking documents show Parkinson is being held on suspicion of felony drug possession, and misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and reckless burning.

Cache County Sheriff’s Lt. Doyle Peck said the blaze was reported by passerby’s around 6:30 p.m. near 311 N. State St. in Richmond. Fire fighters and deputies arrived on the scene and found a garage fully engulfed in flames.

“In the meantime,” explained Peck. “Neighbors also responded to the home and were able to get the elderly female, who lives there, out of the home, as well as a male individual, who lives there with her.”

The home is owned by Mary Ellen Welling and Parkinson is believed to be her caretaker.

Neighbors were able to evacuate Welling and Parkinson safely without injury.

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

The fire was extinguished within 45 minutes of crews arriving on the scene.

Neighbors report a similar explosion occurred at the same residence several years ago. In 2017, Parkinson was injured while making fireworks using black powder.

Peck said detectives are not able to say what caused the fire Tuesday night. They are investigating and treating the incident as suspicious.

“We are looking at [Parkinson] for reckless endangerment and then depending on the results of the investigation, there may or may not be further charges forth coming. It just all depends upon that investigation.”

Utah State Fire Marshals have also been brought in to help with the investigation. Damage estimates are still being determined.

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