Fire leaves Castle Ridge residents homeless |

Fire leaves Castle Ridge residents homeless

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Displaced residents of the Castle Ridge Apartments, which were gutted by a fire late Tuesday night, were trying to come to grips Wednesday morning with the loss of their homes.

“I could’ve lost everything, but I have my son and my wife and we’ll go on,” said Quay Reinert, who lived in a downstairs unit adjacent to where officials believe the fire started.

Police said no one was injured in a fire that broke out at about 11:30 p.m. on a balcony of one of 10 employee units at Castle Ridge, an affordable-housing complex located next to Aspen Valley Hospital.

Rescuers had accounted for all of 17 of the residents, according to police.

“We got out,” Reinert said.

Reinert said he opened the door to an outdoor hallway and saw smoke and flames and heard people shouting.

“This is for real,” he remembered telling himself.

Reinhert said he grabbed his 3-year-old son and he and his wife escaped through a sliding glass door onto their porch and into the yard.

“You couldn’t even breath until you got to the ditch,” Reinert said, pointing to the roadside some 20 yards from the building.

“It burned like matchsticks,” Reinert said of the building.

Reinert said the smoke was so thick that he could not see.

The apartments are privately owned and managed, but are designated for Aspen-area workers.

The porch of unit 107, near the middle of the building, was burned completely, and all along the row of apartments, the metal roof was twisted off and open to the sky.

As wet snow fell on the charred skeleton of the building on Wednesday morning, Emily Titera looked up at her second-floor apartment in hopes of spying her skis or other valuable possessions.

She had only the clothes on her back.

“That’s the worst part, I think,” Titera said.

She said she was in town when her roommate called to tell her about the fire, and said she watched as the apartment complex she’d lived in for 15 months went up in flames.

Aspen firefighters were on the scene Wednesday morning to cover up the remaining possessions of some residents.

Officials with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations were assigned to the case and fire officials said they would have investigators and a dog on scene by afternoon.

The cause of the blaze is still unknown.