Fire still under investigation
Sunday afternoon, investigators were still trying to determine what caused an early morning fire Friday that left several residents of Pine Ridge Townhomes in Basalt without a home.
All the occupants of the four-apartment complex on Original Road escaped the building safely; however one firefighter sustained minor injuries while fighting the blaze, according to a written statement from Bob Richardson of the Basalt fire department.
The firefighter, whose identity was not released, was treated and released from the Midvalley Medical Center Friday, according to Richardson.
The firefighter “was injured when the ceiling of one unit collapsed while three firefighters were looking for the seat of the fire,” he said. “Another ceiling that collapsed in a second unit where three more firefighters were working provided a bit of a scare, but resulted in no injuries.”
After firefighters from the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District arrived at the complex shortly after 5 a.m. Friday, flames visible from one unit quickly spread up through the attic and into a second unit, according to Richardson. The fire was brought under control within an hour, though firefighters remained on the scene until about 1 p.m. Friday.
“The fire heavily damaged the two middle units, with the end units receiving minimal smoke damage,” Richardson said.
Nevertheless, the fire damage was so severe that the entire building was condemned, according to Richardson, leaving all its residents to find other housing.
Assistance has been offered to the victims from the American Red Cross, Eagle County Victims’ Assistance and Christ Community Church in Basalt, as well as from friends and family, according to Richardson.
Jeff Jablonski, a Basalt resident who lives next door to the Pine Ridge Townhomes, estimated the fire displaced about 10 people.
“They’re getting squared away,” he said. “I know some of them were moving their belongings out [Sunday].”
“The firefighters did a great job,” Jablonski continued. “They worked hard containing the fire to those two units and at saving peoples’ belongings. If it had been more windy and if they didn’t have those hook and ladder trucks, who knows what would’ve happened, because it was pretty intense for a while.”
“When they talk about things hitting close to home, this hit really close to home,” he added. “My building was probably 15 or 20 feet away from the fire.”
Four engines and 25 firefighters from Basalt responded to the blaze, along with two engines and seven firefighters from Carbondale and seven firefighters from Aspen.
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For 29 years, day and night during every season, shoulder-high electric infrared radiators directed heat downward to warm the top 6 inches of soil at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. The experiment was called Warming Meadows.