Dog, officials probe State Bridge fire | AspenTimes.com

Dog, officials probe State Bridge fire

Steve Lynn
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

STATE BRIDGE ” A dog and officials with training in fire investigations will aid the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office at State Bridge Lodge on Monday, said Detective Brandon Beaudette.

Agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will bring a dog trained in detecting “accelerants” ” such as gasoline ” that make fires burn faster, he said.

“It’s more a matter of procedure then any thought that there are accelerants,” Beaudette said. “I don’t want to give the impression that I’m looking at this as an arson.”

Police had not yet determined a “specific” origin or cause of the fire that burned down the main building of State Bridge River Resort in Bond, Colo. early Saturday morning.

Beaudette expects to finish the investigation “sometime this week,” he said.

Built in 1890, the main building contained a bar, office, a bedroom, store and a stage where concerts were held.

General manager Scott Stoughton and manager John Ryder lived in the building.

People in Bond and Rancho del Rio have offered food, drink and shelter, and six construction companies have offered to erect a new building for free, Stoughton said.

“Everyone wants to help, and it’s really cool,” he said.

Stoughton wants to put up a large tent and hold a concert at the site by June 29, he said. Musicians have offered to raise funds, and Stoughton hopes to hold a benefit concert in the fall, he said.

People also sent e-mails.

“It’s been just absolutely exhausting,” Stoughton said. “I look forward to getting some rest and then putting something together.”

Ryder’s dog woke him up at 4:28 a.m., and shortly after, Ryder went outside to find the bar and deck on fire. He escaped with his dog, Tatiana, and the clothes on his back and drove four miles to Rancho del Rio to call for help.

Vail’s emergency dispatch center got a call about the fire at 4:54 a.m., and a sheriff’s deputy arrived first at 5:16 a.m., Beaudette said. Firefighters began arriving at 5:24 a.m., he said.

A combination of efforts from several fire agencies and the removal of brush and dead trees in the area last year prevented the fire from burning the adjacent yurts and cabins, Beaudette said. Some trees next to the building caught fire, but firefighters were able to extinguish those, he said.

The cause and origin of the fire would be difficult to investigate, Beaudette said.

“When you have a structure burn as much as State Bridge Lodge, there’s really not much to look at,” he said.


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