Fire rips through south Routt home


— For the majority of a chilly Wednesday night, Jerry and Janice Johner watched helplessly as firefighters put out a fire inside their Stagecoach-area home.

Firefighters from Oak Creek, Steamboat Springs and Yampa responded to the tan home at 29940 Rock Point Trail at about 4:30 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, smoke and flames were emitting from the top level of the two-and-one-half-story home, said Chuck Wisecup, Oak Creek's fire chief.

As of 7 p.m., firefighters had put a majority of the fire out, but fire remained smoldering between walls and floors close the attic, Wisecup said.

Jerry Johner and his wife stood at the side of the road that is off Routt County Road 16 and watched firefighters put out the blaze.

"It is all replaceable," a sad but upbeat Jerry Johner said. "It is only material things."

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but early indications are that the fire originated in the kitchen and spread throughout the first and second floors of the home, Wisecup said.

Because of the inability to get the fire out in between the walls and floors, Wisecup could not assess how much damage was caused to the home.

However, Wisecup believes the damage is "extensive."

Wisecup had 17 firefighters from his district at the scene along with two engines, an ambulance and a command vehicle.

Five Steamboat Springs firefighters assisted at the scene with an engine.

Two Yampa firefighters were at the scene with a vehicle equipped to refill air tanks that were being used by the firefighters.

Johner and Wisecup believe the fire was smoldering for a long time before the call came in.

"A neighbor told us that they could smell plastic burning about 2 p.m.," Wisecup said.

Authorities were not called to the scene until another neighbor saw smoke coming from the home, he said.

Johner, who has lived at the home for close to six years, was at work when he got a telephone call from a neighbor telling him of the situation.

"By the time I got here, they were already here," he said of the firefighters.

"It must have been smoldering for a long time."

As the couple waited, they did get some good news as a firefighter was able to rescue one of the couple's two cats.

Sox was rescued in the home's drive-in garage, Wisecup said.

While firefighters continued to work on the home, Johner waited anxiously on the side of the road with Sox stuffed inside his jacket, hoping his second pet would be found.


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