Tomb family faces life after house fire |

Tomb family faces life after house fire

Chad Abraham

Billy Tomb loaded his car with Christmas presents in the bitter cold Thursday, salvaging what he could from his blackened home that was damaged by fire, smoke and water.In front of his burned-out garage, Tomb spoke about what he had lost, and not lost, in Wednesday’s fire. He said his wife, Sherry, is doing fine.”She was treated and released. She has a little singed hair, but she’s in good spirits, all things considered,” he said. “I’m managing. It’s a difficult time.”Tomb said it will be months before his home is again livable. “We lost everything in the house: family photos, my Civil War memorabilia, clothing, skis, monetary things. But Sherry’s OK and that’s all that counts.”Tomb’s spent the two nights since the fire at the Mountain Chalet; offers of help have been pouring into the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. Tomb has worked at the county jail for 18 years.”The sheriff’s department has been terrific as usual, as they are with all people. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot anyone can do at this time,” he said. “It’s just going to take a matter of time to rebuild and get your feet back on the Earth.”Tomb was meeting with insurance officials Thursday at his home.”We’re in the process now of our insurance adjusters coming out and starting to clean things,” he said. “You need to move on and we’re trying to do that as quickly as possible.”They still haven’t found the cause of the fire. I can say as the homeowner there was nothing combustible in my garage that would cause an explosion. So it’s something for the experts to figure out.”Sherry Tomb and Veronica Smith of Carbondale were upstairs in the home when the fire started. They reported hearing an explosion that shook the house, which is on Twin Ridge Drive in the Castle Creek area. Power was out in the Tombs’ neighborhood from about 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday; it went out in town later that night. A Holy Cross spokesman did not return a call for comment Thursday.Orrin Moon, Aspen’s deputy fire chief, said his investigation is focusing on, among other things, the time the power came back on and the time the fire was reported.When asked if fires can be caused by the power coming back on after an outage, Moon said, “Well, that’s a question we have also. I talked to some Holy Cross guys this morning and asked them if there could be a power surge when it comes on. They said it could [happen], but doubted very seriously if it could be something significant enough to start a fire.”Fire investigators on Thursday were trying to find where in the garage the blaze ignited.”There is nothing that actually stands out as a cause yet,” Moon said. “We’re looking at a whole bunch of different factors that could have caused this.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is