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.


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.


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.


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 or 303 507-3025.

5th Judicial Offers FREE Legal Assistance Thursday

Colorado’s 5th Judicial District, which includes Leadville and Lake County is offering legal resources and assistance to couples and families representing themselves in family law matters during an event at the Eagle County Justice Center from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.

The Eagle County Justice Center will be the location for FREE legal resources for 5th Judicial District residents, including Lake County.

A variety of professional services will be available at no cost.

They include a parenting class from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to fulfill requirements in domestic-relations cases.

Additional full services will begin at 2 p.m. to include:

  • counselors to help create a parenting plan
  • mediation services
  • attorneys to assist in legal based questions
  • Legal Aid services including information on financial aid
  • assistance in completing domestic-relations court forms.

Parents with children are asked to make child-care arrangements; services will not be available to people who bring children to the event. Spanish interpretation will be available for all services.

For more information, please contact Family Court Facilitator Laurie Mactavish at 970-328-8566. The Eagle County Justice Center is located at 885 Chambers Ave. in Eagle, Colo.


Fire Safety Urged Over Holiday Weekend

As the cool morning air is still settled in the mountain valleys, Leadville skies will appear hazy and perhaps even a bit smoky, at first. But things will clear, and blue skies will usher in a prefect summer day in Leadville Today.

Fire_Durango AreaAs of the first day of July the only active wildfire in Colorado is the Lightner Creek Fire which is in La Plata County near Durango in the southwest part of the state. However, five other western states are also contending with active wildfires, and shifting and gusting winds could bring some smoke into local skies even at 10,200 feet!

But smoky skies could be just the reminder residents, and especially visitors, need to use extra precautions as the long July 4th weekend comes into focus. Residents should be wary of lighting fireworks this Fourth of July weekend, emergency officials are urging, warning that pyrotechnics could ignite more fires if not used properly.

The weather while perfect for outdoor recreation, however there is not any rain in the forecast for days, only afternoon thunderstorms which always come with lightening putting forests at risk just as easily.

Yesterday, the Lake County Office of Emergency Management (LCOEM) reported a errant campfire from a non-approved fire ring had created a small blaze (see story below) along County Road 48 or what is more commonly known as the road which runs out to below the Sugar Loafin’ Dam, behind the golf course. Fortunately local crews were quickly able to extinguish the fire, thanks to solid training and reports from other people in the area.

It will be a busy weekend. There will be lots of people in town. Please use extra caution and report any emergency situations immediately to authorities.

Campfire from Non-Approved Ring Sets Blaze

The following report was submitted by Lake County Public Information Officer Betty Benson

Fire Ring

Fire coming from a non-approved ring created a small blaze off County Road 82 in Lake County On June 30, 2017. Photo: LCOEM

June 30, 2017 – A fire started in the woods in a non-approved fire ring just west of Hwy 48 today as a result of a camp fire not being fully extinguished.   Several nearby campers saw the fire and called 911.  Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue arrived on scene to find the fire had spread to about 10’ x 50’ and they were quickly able to apply a wet line all around it and then extinguish it with additional water. 

 The mop-up efforts included shoveling the area to ensure there were no remaining flames or embers before the fire crew left.  The Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue crew were assisted by Lake County Sheriff Deputies and Forest Service personnel.  The US Forest Service has deployed 2 crews to patrol the Lake County US Forest Service area over the next several weeks due to the high fire danger.  The Office of Emergency Management and all fire responders ask that everyone are diligent when in the forest.    Never leave a fire unattended; be sure it is 100% out before leaving a fire,   If you start a fire in a fire pit be sure you have water and shovels handy.  Everything is very dry. 

Leadville Cemetery Restoration Work Continues

Last weekend, June 24 & 25, Rabbi Sara Gilbert of Greeley’s Beth Israel Congregation led Shabbat service as well as the clean up efforts at the Jewish Cemetery at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville. Every year, the group which includes the volunteers from across Colorado gathers to share their faith, learn local Jewish history and provide a great community service with the Annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean Up.

Jewish Cemetery Clean Up 2017_12

People from across the state came together in Leadville last weekend to share their faith and look after the dearly departed at the Hebrew Cemetery in Leadville during the 21st Annual Jewish Cemetery Clean up on June 24 & 25. Photo: Leadville Today.

“The discovery of silver caused Leadville’s population to grow to approximately 30,000 residents about 300 of which were Jews,” stated the historic handout distributed at the event. In 1880, the Hebrew benevolent society established the Hebrew cemetery adjacent to the newly established Evergreen Cemetery. Then in 1884, the land for the Temple Israel sold for $1 to the Congregation Israel by Horace Tabor and was built ten years later in 1894.

An electrical fire in 2006 prompted the synagogue’s full restoration and the project was completed two years later.

The eager volunteers for the 21st Annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean Up come from all across the state and the region, some from as far away as Arizona. The do-gooders of all ages, socialized and worked together resulting in an outstanding community effort as more and more people showed up throughout the weekend.

Jewish Cemetery Clean Up 2017_2

“Many hands make light work,” was the case at the 21st Annual Jewish Cemetery Clean Up in Leadville. Photo: Leadville Today

A little more about the cemetery, according to organizers the Jewish community first required space for the dedicated Jewish Cemetery with the passing of Gustave “Fred” Jelenko in June 1879. He was settled into the southwest corner of the newly established Evergreen Cemetery.

At the end of the day, reflecting on the group’s improvements everyone agreed how awesome it was to bring so many people from different parts of the Colorado, sharing in one goal: to give back to the people that no longer can and to respect the history.

Leadville is such a rich town filled with endless history, to learn more about its Jewish heritage connect at the Temple Israel website. or visit the synagogue at the corner of W. 4th Street and Pine. Thanks to all the volunteers who gave their time to make Leadville a better place to live and visit!