Third house fire in three days strikes midvalley
BASALT – Basalt firefighters responded to a third structure fire in three days Wednesday night and prevented a blaze from completely consuming a home in Missouri Heights.
The fire was reported at 5:48 p.m. at 253 Elk Range Drive. “A passer-by saw fire in the window,” Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson said last night. “The curtains were on fire.”
The person went to a neighboring house and called 911. The neighbors and the passer-by knocked on the doors to try to make sure everyone was out of the burning house. “The good thing is none of the neighbors opened it up,” Thompson said.
The firefighters arrived within minutes of receiving the call. While they were starting their attack, the homeowner, Peter Scott, came within sight of the house while walking his dogs.
“He saw the lights of the fire trucks and took off running,” Thompson said. “We were there fighting a fire in his house.”
The fire apparently started after Scott left a door open on a wood-burning stove while he took his dogs on a brief walk, Thompson said. Scott wanted to be able to stoke the fire quickly when he returned, Thompson said. No one else was in the home at the time.
Either a spark escaped from the stove and ignited materials outside of it or the heat from the stove ignited nearby combustible materials, according to Thompson. A nearby armoire that was used to store newspapers and wood caught on fire. The living room, dining room and kitchen, all on the first floor, were extensively damaged. Other areas of the house and contents suffered heat and smoke damage. Thompson estimated the damage at $100,000.
“The firefighters did an extremely efficient, quick job,” he said. They knocked the fire down in quick measure and prevented the structure from being a total loss.
The house is a former Glenwood Springs fire station that was moved to the site and placed on a foundation in the 1970s, according to Thompson.
Twenty-two firefighters responded with two standard fire engines and a ladder truck. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.
One firefighter was injured when he fell off a truck while hauling additional hose, Thompson said. He landed awkwardly on both feet and may have suffered injuries to his ankles and feet. He was taken by ambulance to an emergency care clinic in Basalt.
The Basalt fire department responded to 18 fires of all types in 2010 but only one was a house fire, Thompson said. “Now we’ve had three by January 5th,” he said.
Already this year, Basalt responded along with Carbondale firefighters on Monday to a fire on Old Highway 82 about 1.5 miles west of El Jebel. Later Monday evening, Basalt firefighters responded to a house fire in the Little Elk Creek subdivision.
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