Grand Junction TV stations try to get back on air after fire guts studios | AspenTimes.com

Grand Junction TV stations try to get back on air after fire guts studios

George Merritt
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” Two Grand Junction television stations were working Monday to get back on the air after a fire destroyed the building they shared, and investigators were trying to determine what caused the blaze.

The fire broke out Sunday morning in the studios of KREX-TV and KFQX-TV. Five people inside escaped safely but the building was a total loss. Damage was put at about $6 million.

It wasn’t clear when the stations, which have separate owners, would be broadcasting again.

“We started that process yesterday,” KREX general manager Ron Tillery said. “We held some parking lot meetings.”

KREX is a CBS affiliate and KFQX is a Fox affiliate. The blaze knocked out local broadcasts of Sunday’s NFL playoff games on their two networks.

Tillery said the stations have received offers of help from the broadcast departments at Mesa State College and Western Community College as well as other television stations in the area.

He said KREX was the first television station in western Colorado. The building that burned had been a former radio station that KREX adapted for TV.

“It is a sad day to see it destroyed that way,” Tillery said after looking through the debris for anything salvageable. “We have a chance now to do something unique” with a new building.

Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said investigators did not enter the building Sunday night because of flare-ups and the danger that the structure would collapse. He said he was saddened to see the station burn but credited sharp firefighting work for preventing a greater tragedy.

Firefighters pulled out of the building after seeing potential for the fire to grow rapidly. Page said the building became engulfed moments after the retreat.

“I think we were lucky,” he said. “We made some good choices initially.”


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