Fire destroys Basalt trailer
BASALT Longtime local resident Kelly M. DenBeste lost his home and possessions when a fire gutted his trailer in Basalt on Wednesday morning.DenBeste, an electrician, wasn’t at home at the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park when the fire broke out. A passer-by on Two Rivers Road reported smoke coming from the single-wide trailer at 10:04 a.m. Flames were shooting out from windows when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.”It went up quick and went out quick,” said firefighter Steven Sandoval.Trailer fires are notorious for spreading quickly and being intense, said Jerry Peetz, assistant chief. When the first Basalt units arrived, the trailer was filled with smoke. Sandoval and Steve Stefferud approached the trailer from one side while Peetz led a unit from the other side. They pried off a door and broke out windows to vent the trailer so they could see inside.Within one minute, the smoke cleared enough to allow them entry to search for occupants, as well as fight the blaze. Even with the ventilation, the trailer was like a cave.”You go in in pitch dark,” Stefferud said.The trailer was crammed with possessions, so materials were igniting while the firefighters made their way through the unit, Sandoval said. No person or pet was in the trailer at the time.
Peetz said it was also fortunate that DenBeste’s unit, No. 5, was on one of the larger lots in the mobile home park. There is a large back and side yard, so flames didn’t threaten any other unit. Two Rivers Road and an interior road at the trailer park’s entrance near the Taqueria el Nopal restaurant also flank the trailer.
The fire department used a compressed air foam system to snuff the fire rather than just water. It’s the first time the department has used the foam in an emergency situation, Peetz said – it started training with it last year.
The firefighters gave the foam system high grades. It puts flames out fast and won’t soak a structure or possessions.In this case, that was a moot point. Fire Chief Scott Thompson said the trailer and all contents were a complete loss because of extensive heat and smoke damage. DenBeste wasn’t insured, according to Thompson. Estimates of the damage weren’t available.Thompson said it was apparent that the fire was accidental but the exact cause remains under investigation by Basalt and Aspen fire officials.
A total of 16 firefighters responded to the blaze. The fire was under control by 10:27 a.m.DenBeste arrived around 2 p.m. and was stunned. He declined comment after talking to a representative of the American Red Cross.Reporter Janet Urquhart contributed to this report.
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