by Chet Hardin
Lance Bean says he spent more than two hours yesterday with the FBI describing what he saw on Rampart Range Road on June 23.
On Tuesday, June 26, the fourth day of the Waldo Canyon Fire, Bean posted an ad on Craigslist — "WALDO CANYON ARSONIST" — writing: "I was on Rampart Range Road and saw the Fire basically when it started. I have video and pictures and believe I know who started the fire."
Multiple members of the media, as well as law enforcement, noticed the listing and attempted to contact Bean. It wasn't until yesterday that Bean responded to these numerous requests for interviews.
His fiancee posted this video on YouTube, shot after they had gotten a safe distance from the fire:
In a phone conversation, Bean described seeing what he believes was the beginning of the fire. You can also hear Bean describe his experience to freelance reporter Mark Horner in the video below.
What he told Horner is nearly identical to what he told me, and this is a summary from both interviews:
While on a drive up to Deckers with his fiancee and her son, Bean says, his truck broke down on Rampart Range Road, near the shooting range. He figured the truck was overheated, and not to make matters worse, they just got out and hung around on the side of the road. After about a half hour, they saw the fire. He says that he was able to get the truck started, and they headed off for Deckers.
But, Bean says, before the fire, around 11:20, he had noticed a van, truck and trailer parked near the shooting range, less than a half-mile from where he believes that the fire started. Horner pressed Bean to describe the distance between the vehicles and where the fire started, to which Bean replied: "Let's just say if you had a compound bow, you could shoot it with an arrow across the valley."
On Tuesday, Bean says, he called the tip line and put up the Craigslist ad, as he assumed that the owners of the vehicles he saw ought to be considered suspects.
And while there was plenty of interest in his Craigslist ad, he says that he simply forgot about that he had placed the ad, and didn't check that email inbox until yesterday. There was a message waiting from the FBI.
Today, the FBI confirmed to the Indy that they have Bean's contact information.