No need for grousing, it’s just blackened quail |

No need for grousing, it’s just blackened quail

Joel Stonington
Aspen firefighter Josh Burnaman carries a pot of vegetables out of a Galena Lofts apartment Saturday. The pot was left on the stove unattended, causing its contents to burn and the fire department to be called in. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

The engine pulled out of the Aspen fire station, made a quick left turn, went through one stoplight and came to a stop in the roundabout next to the Pitkin County Courthouse Saturday. Firefighters went to the door of the Galena Lofts apartment in full gear, opened it, and entered the room as smoke poured out. Soon after, they left the building carrying a smoking pot of barbecued quail and a pot of overcooked vegetables.

Emergency over. “The smell just kept getting stronger,” said neighbor Candy Allen, who called 911 to report an apartment filling up with smoke. “I couldn’t figure out what they had been cooking.”The smell was pungent and not at all mouth-watering. It filled the street and likely stank up the entire apartment building. It was unclear, however, if the stench was caused by the quail or the carrots and celery. Neither were visibly all that burnt, and the apartment’s tenants were not around for comment.

“I was just putzing around,” said Allen. “It started getting worse. Then I thought I might be seeing some smoke through the vents.”Rick Ballantine, deputy chief of the Aspen Fire Department, said the offending poultry was likely quail. The fire department set up positive-pressure fans to blow the smoke out the back of the building.

Shortly after, firefighters could be seen putting away their hoses and gear for the long drive back to the firehouse. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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