Police interested in fire at Aspen apartment complex | AspenTimes.com

Police interested in fire at Aspen apartment complex

The cause of Monday’s early morning fire that left residents of an 18-unit Aspen apartment building homeless is still under investigation, and police are looking into alleged criminal elements at the scene.

Investigators will be back at the Aspen View condos today, said Fire Marshall Ed Van Walraven. Aspen police were at the apartment complex Tuesday, investigating suspected criminal activity found in one of the apartments. The alleged criminal activity is not related to the fire, said Police Chief Loren Ryerson.

He would not comment on what evidence was found, citing the ongoing investigation, but said a search warrant had been signed by a judge.

“The search warrant was for [officers] to go back in for evidence of criminal activity in one of the apartments,” he said. “There were objects in the apartment that led us to believe there was criminal activity going on there.”

The results of the search could be released today, he said.

Two of the complex’s apartments at 326 Midland Ave. suffered fire damage, but most of the units were damaged by smoke and water.

The building’s residents have had to scramble to find other places to stay after being allowed back into their apartments to collect personal belongings.

Fred Thiemer was walking through his apartment with an insurance adjuster yesterday afternoon.

“It’s going to be a while before we can come back to live here, but we won’t know how long that will be until the engineers come through and look around,” he said.

Thiemer, who bought and remodeled his unit three years ago, said he’ll probably have to find an apartment to rent over the short term.

“I’m still in shock – I stayed at the Sky Hotel last night, but the adjuster told me that I’d better find something else right away,” he said.

Ron Ibara said it didn’t appear that his apartment had been damaged, besides the overwhelming smell of smoke. A year ago when he bought his unit, he said a new fire alarm system went off every day, but on Monday morning it didn’t sound.

“It’s kind of ironic that now when there’s a fire, it didn’t go off,” he said. “I’m trying to find out how long I’ll have to stay out, and I don’t know if that will be weeks or months. It’d be nice to be out of limbo, but most people don’t want to rent month-to-month, so that makes things difficult.”

Fire officials believe the fire may have started on a third-floor balcony.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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