Troopers arrest man with singed socks outside burned lodge

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2008

FAIRBANKS - A 22-year-old Fairbanks man is being investigated in the Tuesday morning fire that destroyed a local landmark, the old Cleary Summit Ski Area lodge.

Justin Lambert was charged with vehicle theft and burglary.

He was accused of breaking into a garage and stealing a pickup truck Monday night at a home about five miles away from the lodge. Lambert showed up at the fire scene late Tuesday morning to extract his own pickup truck from a snow bank, according to Alaska State Troopers.

He was wearing singed socks and shoes and smelled heavily of smoke, troopers said.

Lambert denies involvement in the fire that destroyed the deserted 7,000-square-foot lodge.

"He was uncooperative, but the physical evidence suggests he was involved in some way or another," trooper Sgt. Brian Wassmann said.

The ski area was built in 1949 and has been closed since 1993.

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