Former fire chief dies
A former chief of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department and longtime Aspen resident died Thursday evening at his Salida home after a battle with cancer.Stan Lauriski, who would have been 65 at the end of this month, moved to Aspen when he was in sixth grade. He was born in Cañon City. He graduated from Aspen High School in 1960 and married his high-school sweetheart, Rose Lowderback, and joined the volunteer fire department four years later.”He was just a very colorful character and literally one of the great smoke eaters of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department,” said fellow member Tim Cottrell. “He and some of the guys of that era were quite a fearless bunch, especially considering the lack of equipment at the time. They would show up to a fire in cut-off shorts and maybe a pair of boots.”
Lauriski worked for Aspen’s main trucking and delivery company, Rio Grande Motorways, for 17 years before buying his own truck and beginning Lauriski Trucking. He and his wife, Rose, owned the triangle-shaped property currently under construction on Gibson Avenue in Aspen near the Smuggler Trailer Park. They sold it several years ago to move to Salida.He was an avid bow hunter who developed and patented a broadhead arrow point for archery, said his friend and fellow firefighter Bill McEnteer.”He’d spend time with the disabled vets when they came here – it was his way of giving back,” McEnteer said. “He always thought it was interesting teaching archery to men and women who were blind. He thought they were an inspiration.”
Aspen Fire Chief Darryl Grob said Lauriski was outspoken and had “a huge amount of common sense.””He would take on any project that came his way – it was evident throughout his life, from his business with earthmoving to the fire department,” Grob said.Lauriski served as a volunteer chief for the department in 1976, before it was a paid position. Lauriski would take time to train rookie firefighters, Cottrell said, at a time when the department was difficult to join if you weren’t related to someone already on it. McEnteer said Lauriski headed up the group that would fight fires from the inside of the structure. He said Lauriski had a mischievous side.
In fact, he championed the art of shovel racing during Aspen’s Wintersköl celebrations, sliding down Aspen Mountain while sitting on a shovel after putting on the festival’s fireworks display.”It was like an aluminum toboggan that doesn’t steer very well – you’d hang onto the handle and see how far you could get without crashing into something or falling off,” Cottrell said. “He may have been the inventor of the shovel race, which was strictly for getting down the hill after the fireworks.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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The 20-person San Juan Interagency Hotshot Crew out of Durango is on the mountain to assess the fire risk and protect the Adventure Park. It is unknown when the park will reopen.