Derek Parkinson

A 48-year-old man with a fiery past was arrested Tuesday night after a structure fire in Richmond caused significant damage to his grandmother’s home.

Smithfield Fire Chief Jay Downs said the garage of the home was destroyed, but firefighters were able to save the rest of the structure, although there is smoke damage throughout.

The fire captured the attention of an individual who was passing through the area and reported smoke visible near a barn at about 6:45 p.m.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they discovered flames fully engulfing the garage of the home located at 311 State Street.

Neighbors had already knocked on the door and alerted the homeowner, a 95-year-old woman living in the home with her grandson, Derek Parkinson.

Cache County Sheriff’s Lt. Doyle Peck said while firefighters were working to save the home, investigators were speaking with Parkinson, who made some statements that led them to believe that reckless action on his part contributed to the fire.

Parkinson was allegedly under the influence of an illegal substance while attempting to build metal stairs. Sparks from that project ignited pine needles, resulting in the fire, Peck stated in a press release late Wednesday afternoon.

Parkinson was booked into the Cache County Jail on suspicion of reckless endangerment, reckless burning and possession of a controlled substance.

It is not the first time fire departments have responded to that address.

Firefighters were called to this address just after Christmas in 2017 after an explosion in the garage where Parkinson was allegedly mixing black powder. Parkinson received significant burns to his face and his arm, and some of his neighbors were evacuated while deputies investigated the scene and a hazmat crew could clean up the area.

Parkinson was charged with possession of an explosive device, a second-degree felony, multiple counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and an assortment of drug-related charges.

The charges relating to the “explosive device” were dismissed in March this year, while the remaining charges are still pending.

Downs said he and the State Fire Marshal’s Office plan to conduct a fire investigation on Wednesday, and based on the outcome, Peck said additional charges might be considered. Twitter: amacavinta

Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at