Sprinkler douses Willits trash fire
A built-in fire sprinkler system performed exactly as designed Tuesday evening in a mixed residential-commercial building at Willits Town Center, Basalt Deputy Fire Chief Pete Bradshaw said.
A fire ignited shortly after 6 p.m. in an isolated room with a trash dumpster and compactor. Black smoke was billowing out when firefighters arrived, but the sprinkler system was activated before they swung into action. The smoke turned white and water flowed from the room.
“The sprinkler pretty much did its job perfectly,” Bradshaw said.
The room is built so that it would take about two hours before the fire could burn through the sheetrock and spread, Bradshaw said.
The residents and customers of the restaurants and shops in the Triangle Park Lofts building had to evacuate for nearly 30 minutes as fire alarms rang out. The building is home to popular restaurants such as Smoke and El Korita.
Bradshaw said 17 firefighters responded, including 12 volunteers, with one engine and one ladder truck.
Fire officers didn’t poke around the garbage to determine the cause. It wouldn’t have been easy to determine since the fire burned for a short time and the pile was thoroughly doused, Bradshaw said.
“It’s the second time we had a fire in that dumpster,” he said, recalling that the first incident was a couple of years ago.
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State water-quality officials will soon evaluate whether two water-improvement programs in the Gunnison River basin have successfully reduced a chemical that is toxic to endangered fish. They are analyzing five years of data on selenium levels in the Gunnison, where heightened selenium and salinity have harmed Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker populations.