Quick response to chimney fire in Aspen; no injuries | AspenTimes.com

Quick response to chimney fire in Aspen; no injuries

Staff report
The Aspen Times

A structure fire broke out at 1034 East Cooper Ave. in Aspen around 10:30 p.m. on Friday.

According to a statement:

The call was dispatched at 10:32 p.m, and the first unit from the Aspen Fire Department arrived on the scene at 10:36 p.m. The initial arriving engine responded from a concurrent EMS call to the fire. All response units were clear of the scene by 12:34 a.m.

The call came in from a reporting party who informed authorities of a suspected chimney fire with heavy smoke pouring into the room. The caller could also see what was described as “glowing embers” through a crack in the walls.

Upon arrival, the initial engine reported no smoke or flames showing from the street. However, upon further investigation, smoke was found emanating from several rooms on multiple floors within this large multifamily building.

The main body of fire was burning in the wall near the wood-burning stove and was just beginning to spread when firefighters located it. Heat readings in the wall taken with thermal imaging cameras exceeded 400 degrees Fahrenheit prior to extinguishment.

Firefighters used power and hand tools to breach wood and brick walls to locate and extinguish the fire. The building has a fire-sprinkler system, but the sprinklers did not activate because the voids where the fire was burning are not protected by the system.

“Our volunteer and career firefighters did an outstanding job working hard together to stop this fire,” said Battalion Chief Arnold Nimmo, the incident commander. Three engines, an aerial ladder truck, an ambulance, and several command and law vehicles responded, including 15 firefighters and several law and EMS personnel.

Aspen Fire Deputy Chief of Operations Jake Andersen said, “Early notification and a rapid and robust response was critical in preventing further damage or injuries. A few minutes later, and this could have been a different story.”

The Aspen Fire Department, Aspen Police Department, and the Aspen Ambulance District all responded to the incident. No injuries were reported. Multiple units within the building were evacuated, and ultimately, two occupants were displaced by this incident.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire. Currently, the cause is not believed to be suspicious. Residents are advised to exercise caution when using wood-burning stoves, to always follow safety protocols, and to call 911 immediately if they suspect a chimney fire or a fire outside of the chimney.