Charred Willits house to be demolished |

Charred Willits house to be demolished

Scott Condon The Aspen Times

BASALT – Nearly 14 months after a fire destroyed a house in the Willits subdivision of Basalt, the burned-out hulk finally will be torn down and removed, according to a town government official and the president of a homeowners association.

Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane told the Town Council on Tuesday night that he was informed that all legal hurdles had been cleared and the lot at 510 Lake Court can be cleaned up. The legal work included establishing clear title.

Brenda Wild, president of a homeowners association at Willits, said the demolition and removal should be under way by mid-March.

“At this point, the homeowners association has stepped up to undertake the removal of the debris on the lot,” Wild said.

The property is still owned by Harold “Chip” Unglert, according to Wild. She declined to discuss specifics of the financial arrangement to get the lot cleared.

“All parties will be complete and whole at the end of the process,” she said.

The house was destroyed Jan. 12, 2011, in a fire that investigators concluded was arson. Fire and police investigators determined that an accelerant was poured on several points of the exterior of the house and that the fire started outside. Firefighters were immediately suspicious about the blaze because it burned more rapidly than considered normal and the burn pattern didn’t follow a natural progression, according to police statements at the conclusion of the investigation.

No one was charged, and Basalt police previously said the case is cold. The Safeco insurance company offered a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction but to no avail.

Unglert wasn’t home at the time and had an alibi of his whereabouts when the fire broke out. His alibi was confirmed by police.

No one was injured in the fire; neighbors were left with a mess. The heavily damaged first floor of the house has been enclosed with plywood. Much of the second floor is in shambles. Yellow police tape is strung across the front yard.

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