Neighbors prevent barnburner |

Neighbors prevent barnburner


EMMA ” Quick action by two women who live on East Sopris Creek Road prevented a barn burner Friday afternoon.

One of the women discovered a haystack on fire in a neighbor’s barn, then enlisted help from a friend to douse the flames and save the structure.

Leslie Thomas said she was heading to the farm of her neighbor, where she boards horses, when she noticed smoke coming from a metal barn at about 1:15 p.m. She called 911 and then called another neighbor, Sue Pietrzak.

Thomas hooked up an outdoor hose, peered inside the barn and deduced it was safe for her to go inside even though flames were coming off a small haystack. She aimed the hose at the fire and was soon joined by Pietrzak.

Once the flames died down, Antonio Gonzales, who works for Thomas, threw the smoldering bales outside.

Roger Wilde, owner of the property at 2191 E. Sopris Creek Road, wasn’t home at the time.

Thomas and Pietrzak downplayed their heroics. The fire easy to put out, they said.

Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson gave them much more credit.

“If they wouldn’t have found it, the barn easily would have been a total loss,” Thompson said. He estimated it would have been engulfed in 10 or 15 minutes.

The metal barn had no interior insulation. The flames licked the wood frame and the fire got hot enough to melt paint off the structure’s exterior.

Thompson said it appeared spontaneous combustion in the hay caused the fire.

After the fire was extinguished, Thomas headed over to check on her horses, which were outside in a pasture on Wilde’s property.

“Thank goodness Leslie saw it,” Pietrzak said.

Basalt firefighters checked the scene to make sure no sparks were caught in the rafters. Several of them stopped by to congratulate the women and Gonzales for their fast action. One firefighter joked that he would be back with applications for them to join the volunteer organization.

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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