Glenwood fire dislodges Bishop Plumbing | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood fire dislodges Bishop Plumbing

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

Glenwood firefighters work on a building fire along South Grand Avenue Friday morning. Bishop Plumbing & Heating moved into the building less than a month ago. An electrical problem is suspected to be the cause of the fire. (Kara K. Pearson/Post Independent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Less than a month ago, Bishop Plumbing & Heating employees fired up their computers at their new Glenwood Springs office.On Friday, they carried the computers back out of the office, some of them covered in foam after a fire that left the building charred and possibly destroyed.But it could have been worse, said Kristin Davis, co-owner of the business. All seven employees were able to escape from the fire, with the only injury involving a worker who was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.That was the silver lining of the tragedy that struck on the day after Thanksgiving at 2512 S. Grand Ave.”We’re definitely thankful that our employees are safe and healthy,” Davis said.Those employees include Sweetie Pie, the 16-year-old office cat, who also escaped unharmed.Glenwood resident Debra Morton, who owns the building along with her husband Tom, said they had Friday off and had looked forward to enjoying it. Instead, they were visiting the fire site with an insurance adjuster as they wondered whether the structure can be saved. Still, it could have been worse, she said.”Stuff can all be replaced and nobody was hurt – not even the cat – and that’s the good thing,” she said.Davis credits a smoke alarm with possibly saving the lives of her employees. This is Bishop’s busy season and it was fully staffed Friday, with workers arriving at 7 a.m. Once the fire broke out, it spread quite quickly, Davis said.”The smoke alarm really made all the difference in getting us out safely,” said Davis.She said the incident taught her the importance of regularly checking alarm batteries.Darryl Queen, captain of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, said crews were dispatched at 8:58 a.m. and the first truck arrived at 9:04 a.m. He said the building’s occupants had found some burning embers on the floor and put them out, but by the time they went outside the attic was “charged with smoke and fire.”Davis said an employee had seen that the bathroom floor was on fire. Queen said the embers may have fallen from the attic. He suspects some kind of electrical problem may have started the blaze. An investigation is ongoing.About 24 people fought the fire. Glenwood’s fire department sent three vehicles, and Carbondale also responded with an engine, while standing by with an ambulance in case any unrelated emergencies occurred in town at the same time.Queen said the fire left about half of the roof destroyed. He said the fire “just creepy crawled everywhere” because the building included numerous false ceilings and different types of construction add-ons.”You can imagine how difficult it was to beat through all that stuff,” he said.Retired veterinarian Carter Jackson said his family lived at the property and he ran his practice there from the early 1950s to early 1960s.”It was out in the country then,” he said.Three children were born into the Jackson family while it was living there, and family members have fond memories of the place.”We were sure sad to see it,” Jackson said of the fire.Morton said a dentist later lived there. Most recently it had been occupied by the Our School preschool, which has relocated.Neither Morton nor Jackson know how old the building is. She said she thinks her husband bought it in the 1970s.Davis said Bishop Plumbing also has an Aspen office, which its employees can use until they move back into the Glenwood building or find another one. Queen said firefighters tried to save what office equipment they could. But Davis said a lot of computers, desks and other items were lost.Morton said the company’s employees had been excited about their new location.”They loved the place. I feel bad for them because they had just settled in,” she said.Queen said the holiday season also can be structure fire season, as people are heating their homes, using more lights and auxiliary electric devices and illuminating Christmas trees.”A word to the wise is for everybody to be cautious out there and be aware of their surroundings,” he said. “Let’s be careful and cautious and have a happy holiday season and not a tragedy.”

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