No one hurt as another blaze hits a mobile home near New Castle

Dale Shrull
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Dale Shrull Post IndependentA firefighter rakes debris from underneath a mobile home that caught fire Monday afternoon in Apple Tree Park south of New Castle.

NEW CASTLE – For the second time in eight days, smoke filled the air south of New Castle and a mobile home was destroyed by fire.

Unlike the deadly blaze on Sunday, Aug. 29, no one died or was injured in Monday night’s blaze. The Aug. 29 fire claimed the life of 78-year-old Sanford Vaughn Griffin in the Mountain Shadow subdivision, which is connected to Apple Tree Park.

For next-door neighbor Debbie Fettig, it was a frightening sight when she looked out the window and saw flames coming from underneath the mobile home in space 44 in Apple Tree Park.

She knew her two children were not at home, so she quickly rounded up the family’s two dogs and bolted from the house.

“I was scared. When I looked out [at the flames] I hit panic mode. I grabbed the two dogs and left,” she said.

As Fettig fled the scene, other neighbors came running.

Just like last Sunday, good Samaritans swarmed the scene.

Apple Tree Park co-owner Russell Talbott said at least 10 people arrived to help and to ensure everyone was safe.

As thick, choking smoke filled the air, it was clear to everyone nearby that the mobile home was on fire.

When Justin Gagner, 28, saw the smoke, he sprang into action. Seeing four cars parked out front and flames quickly ripping through the home, he knew they had to get the vehicles a safe distance away.

“As soon as I knew no one was in danger, I knew we had to get the cars out of there,” he said.

Gagner’s girlfriend Bailey Kehoe, 20, worked to keep onlookers away, especially the children.

“I tried to establish a perimeter to keep people away,” she said.

After getting three of the cars out of danger, the fourth one was missing the keys.

“They told me where the keys were so I ran inside and grabbed them off the counter,” Gagner said.

With the fire moving fast, and a large bush and tree close by, Gagner said he thought other homes were in real danger.

Other people grabbed garden hoses and started hosing down the tree and neighboring homes.

“There were a bunch of good Samaritans that did a great job,” Fettig said.

Residents from neighboring homes were evacuated, and it was unclear if they were allowed to return home last night.

Talbott, who also arrived to help, said the firefighters did an outstanding job from keeping the fire contained to the one mobile home.

“They did a phenomenal job,” Talbott said of the firefighter response and work. “It could have easily been a lot worse.”

According to Phil Strouse, Garfield County Sheriff’s spokesman, the fire is still under investigation, but the preliminary finding is that the fire was an accident.

Some witnesses said they saw a resident of the mobile home working underneath the home just before the fire started.

Although last Sunday’s fire and this one were just a few hundred yards apart, Talbott said it was just a coincidence.

“We’ve gone a long time without having a fire before these two,” he said.

Last Sunday’s fire, which started at 5:15 p.m., was determined to be an accident, and Talbott said yesterday’s fire, which was first reported at 4:52 p.m., also appears to be an accident.