Midvalley house fire victim identified
EL JEBEL – The midvalley man who died in a house fire Monday afternoon was identified as Steve Davis on Tuesday by residents of the neighborhood and an official with knowledge of the incident.
Davis’ age wasn’t available, and the exact cause of death hasn’t been released by the Garfield County Coroner’s Office.
The fire broke out at about 5 p.m. Monday in a single-story house on Old Highway 82 about 1.5 miles west of El Jebel. Another man who lives at the house was also in the residence at the time, according to Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach. The wife of the victim wasn’t at home at the time, he said.
The victim was unable to get out of the house, Leach said. Firefighters made it to the victim within minutes of arriving on the scene and got him out of the house, but he couldn’t be revived, authorities said. Leach was uncertain if the victim faced any medical issues that impaired his ability to get out of the house.
The other man reported to authorities that he smelled smoke from another part of the house and scrambled to assist the victim but encountered heavy smoke, Leach said. The man was guided out of the house by a firefighter from Basalt, who arrived on the scene first because the site is closer to the El Jebel fire station, according to Leach.
The Basalt fire officer was assessing the situation when he heard coughing, entered the house and assisted the man outside, said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. That man didn’t suffer any injuries, Thompson said. His identity wasn’t available.
An incorrect address of the house was provided to media Monday night. The actual address of the fire was 17525 Old Highway 82.
One section of the home was burned, engulfing a bedroom and hallway, Leach said. The damage was visible Tuesday on the home’s southeast corner. Leach said 25 firefighters from Carbondale and Basalt worked together to quickly extinguish the fire.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were investigating the cause of the fire Tuesday along with the Carbondale fire department. It is standard procedure for the CBI to assist in an investigation when a death is involved, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis.
“Every unattended death is investigated like a homicide. However, we don’t see anything suspicious at this point,” McGinnis said.
Residents of the neighborhood were grieving the loss of Davis. Joe Zamora, who lives next door, said Steve and his wife T.J. Davis have lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years. He said the man who survived is a hired hand who takes care of horses for the Davises. He knows the hired man only as Philipe.
The house was uninhabitable after the fire. Zamora said Philipe stayed at an apartment at his residence while Mrs. Davis stayed with a family friend.
The sheriff’s office wouldn’t confirm the identity of the victim Tuesday because that is a responsibility of the coroner’s office, McGinnis said. An official with knowledge of the fire confirmed that Davis was the victim.
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