DENVER

Waldo Canyon Fire: Point Of Origin Located, $50,000 Reward Offered For Information About Looters Of Evacuees Homes (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

07/06/2012 09:03 am ET | Updated Jul 06, 2012

While officials have not yet said whether they know the cause of Waldo Canyon Fire, investigators in El Paso County say they have located its point of origin.

An eight-agency team tasked with mapping the area and searching for the fire's cause however, isn't revealing the origin's location just yet.

“For the sake of safeguarding the integrity of the investigation I will not be discussing specifics on where that location is,” said Lt. Jeff Kramer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s office on Thursday morning.

However, coordinates obtained by The Denver Post along with dispatch recordings of firefighter conversations suggest that the origin may be on a ridge along the Waldo Canyon hiking trail west of Colorado Springs.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation the National Weather Service said that for June 23, the official date of origin of the fire, and for the day prior the skies were clear and no thunderstorms were observed meaning the likelihood of the fire being started by lightning are slim.

While investigators search the area for clues, looting had become a big enough of a problem that the National Guard was called in to help police patrol the area and an anonymous community member put out a $50,000 offer for information leading to the arrest of burglars.

The 18,247-acre blaze has burned 347 homes, is now 95 percent contained as of and claimed the lives of an elderly couple who were identified Thursday.

A string of burglaries have plagued the neighborhoods devastated by the fire -- at least 32 homes were burglarized and dozens of evacuees' vehicles were broken into in the evacuation zones since the fire erupted, however there have only been three arrests so far. Chief Pete Carey of the Colorado Springs Police Department announced Thursday that an anonymous citizen has posted a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of people that victimized evacuees.

William Everett, 74, and Barbara Everett, 73 were found in the charred remains of their home at 2910 Rossmere St, which had been evacuated June 26. The next day 32,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the area.

On Wednesday, a body found in Chatfield Reservoir was identified by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office as Jason Gustav Stark, 37, a Waldo Canyon Fire evacuee.

The Douglas County Coroner's Office ruled his death an accidental fresh water drowning.

The Littleton Police Department sent a dive team to look for Stark after friends he had been camping with reported him missing Saturday. In this case, the fact that Stark was an evacuee was just a tragic coincidence, according to KKTV.

The cost of fighting the fire has reached over $14 million though it is expected to reach full containment Friday morning.

Waldo Canyon Fire 2012 Photos
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