No one hurt as fire destroys Glenwood home near grade school

Staff report
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A house was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon on Three Mile Road above Midland Avenue on the south edge of Glenwood Springs, causing school officials to scramble to get students home from nearby Sopris Elementary School.

Glenwood Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said it was unclear how many people were in the home when the fire started, but as many as four families might have been living there. No one in the house and no firefighters had been injured. By 4:15, crews had the fire mostly out and were looking for hot spots.

The chief described it as lucky that firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading to other homes or open land.

For about two hours, Midland Avenue was blocked off at Park West Drive, and drivers could not travel up Three Mile or Four Mile roads. Four Mile reopened by 4:25 p.m.

Roaring Fork School District officials first considered evacuating nearby Sopris Elementary School, but instead decided to arrange pickup points at the regular school dismissal time, 3:30 p.m.

Because of the Midland closure, students were escorted north through Glenwood Park to Park West Drive for bus and parent pickups. Families living up Four Mile Road were told to pick up students at the old rodeo grounds in the Glenwood Springs airport.

Tillotson said it was too early to say what might have caused the fire, and the intensity of the blaze would make it difficult to find good evidence in the aftermath.

He added that he did not know of a 911 call on the blaze, which was initially reported by a fire official driving nearby.

Dwight Juhl, who lives on Four Mile above the house that burned, said his brother advised him that something was burning near his home. Because of the road closures, he walked up to check on his dogs, which were fine, he said.

“If the wind would have been blowing to the south, I would have been real nervous,” he said.

State investigators were expected Tuesday and local officials were preparing to secure the site overnight to preserve evidence.

This story includes reports from Ryan Summerlin, Will Grandbois, John Stroud and Randy Essex.