Fire, accident test Basalt firefighters
November 16, 2006
Pandemonium broke out for the Basalt fire department Thursday morning when simultaneous calls came in for a major accident on Highway 82 and a house fire on the outskirts of town.Two engines and eight firefighters were dispatched at 7:27 a.m. to 679 Frying Pan Road, where the U.S. Forest Service uses some old cabins for employee housing. Neighbors reported smoke and alerted the occupants.A chimney fire caused smoke damage to the interior of the cabin, according to Basalt fire chief Scott Thompson. Creosote had built up in the chimney and ignited.”The message is people need to have their chimneys checked,” Thompson said.Those types of fires present a threat of spreading through cracks in the masonry. Firefighters were on the scene for an hour before they were confident the fire posed no threat, according to Thompson. Moments after the fire call came in, rescue workers from the district scrambled to a three-vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue. A 4-year-old girl was injured when an SUV ran a red light on Highway 82 and struck the car she was riding in, according to the Colorado State Patrol.Francisca Olivas, 39, of Carbondale, was eastbound on the highway in a Toyota SUV when she failed to stop for a red light at the main signal at Basalt, according to Trooper Denny O’Leary. Olivas’ SUV struck a Honda sedan crossing the highway from the north side of Basalt Avenue, O’Leary said. The impact threw Olivas’ car into a third vehicle, which was entering the highway from Basalt Avenue on the south side of the intersection.The girl was riding in the Honda. She was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, according to O’Leary. Thompson said the injuries weren’t life-threatening.Two ambulances, one fire engine and 11 rescue workers from the Basalt responded. “Several people” were checked at the scene and released, according to Thompson.Olivas received a ticket for failure to stop at a traffic control device, O’Leary said. The occupants of all vehicles were wearing seat belts or were in a child restraint device, he reported.Aspen-bound traffic was reduced to one lane and crawled through the intersection until about 9 a.m. Vehicles were backed up for about 1.5 miles at 8 a.m., spurring some impatient motorists to whip U-turns, backtrack to Two Rivers Road then drive through Basalt to avoid the congestion. That, of course, congested Basalt’s streets.O’Leary said he had trouble reaching the scene once he encountered the traffic congestion because some motorists were driving on the shoulder.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.