Latest News – August 23

Structure Fire Knocked Down Quickly

By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today

A 911 emergency call came into Lake County Dispatch Center late yesterday afternoon, August 22, regarding a structure fire on W. 9th Street, just a few blocks from the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR) station.

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The Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue crews quickly knocked down the flames from a structure fire on W. 9th Street on August 22. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

“We showed up on scene to a fully involved structure,” explained Leadville Fire Chief Dan Dailey who was on the scene. “After getting a quick knock-down on it, we limited the interior attack for a bit because the division two (second story) floor was pretty spongy and we were having electrical sparks on the interior.” The crews continued to fight the blaze from the outside until Excel Energy arrived to cut the electrical power from the structure.

According to Dailey, the structure on the property was used for storage and was not occupied by any persons at the time of the incident. Property owner John Herron, who was at home at the time of the incident, noticed flames coming from the structure and immediately called 911. Herron lives on the property in the newer family home with his wife Liz and two sons.

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Fire crews were able to contain the incident to the initial structure, saving a family home and other buildings in the residential area.

While the sound of emergency vehicles rushing off to help often give pause to local residents, the timing of this incident was particularly significant as daily commuters making their way home from both Summit and Chaffee County saw mutual aid emergency responders from both the  Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Chaffee County Fire Protection District, racing past them as they reported to help local responders.

“Any idea why there were fire trucks from Summit heading towards Leadville this afternoon?” posted one concerned resident to the LT Facebook Page. Lake County residents should know with confidence that the efforts of multi-county, coordinated emergency plans are at the ready to assist. Thanks to the LLCFR, the Lake County Office of Emergency Management and other local emergency responders, working relationships are firmly in place that keep everyone safe. In small mountain communities where the need can be great, and the budget can be small, neighboring coordination is key, especially when containing structure fires in residential areas.

“You never know how embolden a fire is going to be, and how much personnel you will need on a fire,” explained Chief Dailey regarding the call for support from neighboring counties. And, of course, Lake County stands ready to assist when it’s their time to “return the favor.” The cause of the fire is now under investigation, led by Leadville Fire Marshall Steve Boyle.

Thanks to all the emergency repsonders who keep Leadville and Lake County safe. And please remember your neighbors – the Herrons – as they clean up and assess the loss and damage to their property.

**UPDATE **

The following information was released by Public Information Officer Betty Benson on August 24:

The homeowner’s 18-year-old son was the sole injury from the blaze and he received second and third degree burns to his hands and arms. 

The scene was secured and the building was boarded up for the evening until the next morning when the investigation of the cause and origin would continue.

     At approx. 9:15 AM on August 23rd, The LLCFR Fire Marshal and LPD officer returned to the scene to investigate the fire cause.  Upon entry into the structure it appeared that there was explosive making materials and supplies. 

     An investigation is continuing with the assistance of the Denver Field Office of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

This is an ongoing investigation and as additional information becomes available it will be released.

     The Police Department, Fire Department and ATF want to assure residents the area is safe and any unstable substances were removed.  No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed at this stage.

     All persons mentioned or discussed are presumed innocent until the contrary is proven in a court of law.

     Anyone who believes they have new and pertinent information with regard to this investigation is asked to contact the Leadville Police Department at (719)293-1084.  If there are questions on this matter,  please  contact the Leadville/Lake County Pio Betty Benson at lakecountypio@leadvilleonline.net or 303 507-3025.

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