Steamboat Springs Fire investigators were unable to determine the cause of an April fire that destroyed a cabin at the Lowell Whiteman School and killed two dogs trapped inside.
Jim Cooley, a fire inspector with the Steamboat Springs Fire Marshall's office, said there were three possibilities and investigators could not pinpoint one specific cause.
The possible causes of the fire could have been a space heater, a power strip or cigarettes, although Cooley said he couldn't directly trace the fire back to any of those.
He said the heater had not been knocked over so it didn't appear to be the point of origin. The power strip was overloaded, but Cooley said he couldn't tell if a faulty cord was attached to it. Cooley said he found cigarette remains in the charred cabin, but he said the tenant, Ryan Gray, was emphatic that cigarettes weren't involved because he doesn't smoke.
Cooley said investigators were not able to determine that the cabin's wiring caused the fire.
Cooley said the fire, which started in a corner of the cabin, was not suspicious.
"He lost his dogs and his belongings," Cooley said. "It was accidental but undetermined."
Cooley said he had no evidence that the cabin was unsafe. He said the main buildings at Whiteman were inspected for fire safety, but small buildings, such as the historic cabin Gray occupied, were not inspected.
The fire at the cabin was discovered the night of April 22 by boys in a dormitory. Gray was not at home and school staff tried to put out the fire with small extinguishers. By the time firefighters arrived in less than five minutes, 10-foot-high flames were shooting out of the cabin.
Gray's black Labrador mix, Pele, was 8 months old. His sister's Australian shepard, Polo, was 7 years old. Officials believe they died of smoke inhalation.
Gray has finished his internship at Whiteman and has accepted an internship at Kent Denver School.
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