Duckels charged for errant blast

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— Fred Duckels has been charged with a felony and a misdemeanor for an errant dynamite blast that injured a young girl and caused damage to a neighboring property.

On Monday, Duckels, who owns Duckels Construction, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree arson by Deputy District Attorney David Moffat.

Duckels faces a felony because flying debris from the dynamite blast allegedly injured a 6-year-old girl. He faces the misdemeanor charge for damaging a shed owned by Ashley Gruber in the 27000 block of Moonlight Way.

A felony summons for Duckels to appear in Routt County Court in June was sent out Monday. On Wednesday, Duckels could not be reached for comment.

Duckels faces the charges for allegedly setting off a dynamite blast at about noon May 1 within the third phase of the Silver Spur Subdivision.

At the time, Duckels was blasting a trench to install water and sewer pipes in the ground.

Because of the blast, pieces of shale and dirt clumps were sent flying onto the adjacent homes on the north end of Steamboat II.

Flying debris hit a 6-year-old girl in the head. The girl, who was playing with her twin sister in the front yard of a home on Moonlight Way, suffered minor injuries that did not require medical attention.

Flying debris also reportedly caused damage to four homes, two cars and two sheds.

Moffat filed the two counts of fourth-degree arson against the 62-year-old man because he said it fits the facts of this case.

According to state statutes, a person could be charged with the crime if a person knowingly or recklessly causes an explosion on his own property or that of another, and by doing so places another in danger or places any building or occupied structure in danger.

Fourth-degree arson is a class four felony if a person is endangered. The charge is a misdemeanor if it involves property.

Because of the incident, Duckels' explosives licenses issued by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment have been suspended.

The department has suspended the licenses that allowed Duckels to purchase, store and blast explosives during construction projects.

The department alleges Duckels did not get a permit for the blast, did not follow safety regulations and used too much dynamite.

All of Duckels' explosives and tools used to set off dynamite have been confiscated by the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

Duckels can appeal the suspension during a hearing in Denver in June.

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