Furnace may have triggered blast that destroyed Breckenridge-area home | AspenTimes.com

Furnace may have triggered blast that destroyed Breckenridge-area home

Ashley DicksonSummit County correspondentAspen, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit Daily NewsRed, White and Blue Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Jackie Pike, left, Fire Marshal Jay Nelson, center, and firefighter Brent Chapman work around the charred structure of a home in Blue River south of Breckenridge Thursday morning. An explosion and fire destroyed the home Wednesday evening.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. Problems with a gas furnace or fireplace are being blamed for a house explosion that lit up the night sky outside of Breckenridge on Wednesday.We were able to determine that it was unintentional, and now it has been handed over to the insurance company, said Capt. Kim Scott, spokeswoman for the Red, White and Blue Fire Department. Luckily, no one was in the house at the time, and no one was hurt.Firefighters from Red, White and Blue Fire, and Lake Dillon Fire and Rescue could not save the home after the explosion at about 7 p.m. Wednesday.When our crew got to the house, the flames were almost 60 feet high, Scott said. It took over three hours to knock down all the flames.The explosion left little in its wake, and the smoldering remains looked like a set of Lincoln Logs scattered across the property.Built in 1985, the log cabin-style home, in the Blue River neighborhood south of Breckenridge, was valued at $521,194 and owned by Leo and Kitty Smith of Parker, Colo.They could not be reached for comment Thursday.Although the blaze singed the branches of the trees surrounding the home, firefighters were able to contain the fire so it did not spread into the forest.We took up defensive operations the moment we arrived, Red, White & Blue Fire Chief Lori Miller said. No other structures in the area were affected.Because Blue River has no municipal water supply, the Colorado State Patrol temporarily shut down Highway 9 between Boreas Pass and Hoosier Pass while fire engines brought in more than 20 loads of water from the Breckenridge Ski and Racket Club.It was an amazing response from Red, White & Blue, said neighbor Dan Radgowski, whose home shook from the force of the blast. It was pretty cool.A tenant living in a studio apartment above the homes detached garage was home at the time of the blast, but he was able to get out safely before flames consumed the structure.We ran over there screaming to see if everyone was all right, neighbor Dan Radgowski said. The whole wall was blown out 20 feet, and then the roof was blown straight up in the air and then came down on top of it. It was ridiculous.Fire authorities are still investigating the exact cause of the explosion, but it is not uncommon to find fuel leaks in furnaces that go unused for extended periods of time.Red, White & Blue would like to encourage our residents to make sure your appliances are regularly maintained and in good working order, Fire Marshal Jay Nelson said, adding that owners of vacation homes should pay special attention to furnace pilot lights and propane tanks.

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