Fire consumes Frying Pan home

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado
A Peachblow subdivision home burns Thursday afternoon, seven miles from Basalt. (Jim Paussa/The Aspen Times)

BASALT A fire consumed a residence Thursday afternoon at 7663 Frying Pan Road, closing the road for three hours because of the danger of a 500-gallon propane tank next to the house exploding. “There’s nothing left of that house – absolutely nothing,” said Vince Higens, a neighbor. Police said no one was injured in the house fire that started sometime around 1 p.m. The home – which Jeffrey Jacobsen, a reserve Eagle County deputy, owned – is in the Peachblow subdivision seven miles from Basalt.

But, the 10-foot-tall propane tank, which never blew, prevented firefighters from taking action until the house had burned nearly completely. Firefighters watched the fire from a distance until 3 p.m. – two hours after the first call. Dozens of firefighters from Basalt, Carbondale and the federal Bureau of Land Management responded to the blaze.Robert Cypher of Aspen and his friend Dan Sargeant, of Boca Raton, Fla., first spotted the smoke on their way to go fishing at Ruedi Reservoir. Cypher said at first they just thought it was a brush fire but quickly realized parts of the house were aflame as they drove up the driveway. In order to check for people, Cypher threw a large rock through a glass door and ran in, but Sargeant warned him to leave.”Dan noticed a propane tank and yelled at me to get out,” Cypher said. “I never got a chance to get upstairs. The fire was coming through the floor already. It went pretty quick. It was unbelievable.”

Both said they didn’t have a chance to attempt to save the house from the flames, and Eagle County deputies quickly closed the road because of the propane tank.Cypher and Sargeant were unclear about where the fire started because their main concern was about the possibility of people in the house. After getting out, they noticed a truck near the home and drove it down the road so it wouldn’t get destroyed.

There were “unbelievable flames – they were probably 100 feet in the sky,” Higens said. “I watched their house crumble to the ground.”Higens began an assistance fund for his 20-year neighbor at Alpine Bank after watching the fire, and has already contributed $5,000. He encourages others to contribute to the Jacobsen Fire Fund as well. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is