Midvalley home goes up in smoke | AspenTimes.com

Midvalley home goes up in smoke


CARBONDALE ” A house in the midvalley was gutted by a fire after a couch was ignited Wednesday afternoon, Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach said.

The fire was reported at about 5:15 p.m. at an old ranch house in the TCI Lane Ranch between Catherine Store and the Waldorf School. The initial report was that a couch was on fire and the occupants of the house were trying to put it out. The house was “fully involved” when firefighters from Basalt and Carbondale arrived a short time later.

“The house is pretty much gutted,” Leach said. “It was an older-type log house and the fire spread quickly.”

Five or six people were at the house at the time and escaped without injury, Leach said. The occupants provided a couple of stories about the possible origins of the fire, he said. Some of the witnesses said a cigarette dropped into the couch; others said it was ignited by sparks from a wood-burning stove, according to Leach. The fire department is investigating the cause.

About 30 firefighters from the two departments responded. The property is in the Carbondale fire district. The Basalt fire department responded because of a mutual aid agreement.

The ranch is owned by midvalley businessman Ace Lane. Jon Fredericks, a land-use planner and designer who works for Lane, was at the scene assessing the damage. He said the house was rented by an employee of Wind River Trees, a landscaping firm also owned by Lane. That man was traveling in another part of Colorado Wednesday and wasn’t at home at the time of the fire. Leach said all furnishings and belongs in the house were destroyed. The Red Cross was offering the occupants of the house emergency accommodations.

Ironically, the house was eventually going to be donated to the Carbondale fire department to be burned in a training exercise, Fredericks and Leach said. Lane intends to redevelop the ranch with a residential project.

The two-story structure remained intact and flames didn’t spread to the white clapboard exterior, but they burned through the roof. Thick, white smoke billowed from the structure and created a spectacle for rush-hour commuters whizzing downvalley on Highway 82 right before dusk.


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