Steamboat Springs Authorities believe a propane space heater is to blame for a Tuesday morning fire that caused extensive damage to a home under construction in Heritage Park west of the city.
"It appears a propane heater was left on in the home," Fire Inspector Jim Cooley said. The home is being built in the 27000 block of Brandon Circle. "We don't have an exact location of where it was left, but we believe it was in a room (to the) left of the home's entrance."
That room is close to the garage.
"At this point, there does not appear to be any foul play," Cooley said. "But the fire is still under investigation."
Tuesday's call marked the fourth time in January that firefighters have rushed to a house fire.
"We have had a busy fire season," Cooley said. "We are not happy about that."
On Tuesday, firefighters got the call about 6 a.m. after a motorist driving on U.S. 40 noticed smoke coming from the home, said Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble.
"When we arrived at the scene, there were visible flames from the garage area and moderate smoke coming from the main floor," Struble said.
Nineteen firefighters were sent, along with an engine and a ladder truck.
"The fire was pretty much under control in about 20 minutes," Struble said.
Although firefighters knocked the fire down quickly, they did not leave until 8:30 a.m.
"It was a hard fire to fight because a part of the first level floor had burned away," Struble said. "There is a huge area of the first floor that was missing. The fire started to burn the floor to the second level. We had to watch where we stepped. We had to be cautious where we put people."
Firefighters broke a second-story window to put a water hose through to douse the flames.
The fire caused extensive damage to the first and second floors to the home that is being built by Chad Bosco.The home is owned by Robin Eisele, who currently lives in Bailey. Bosco started on the home in July.
"They had a ways to go to finish it," Cooley said. "But the building was framed, roofed and portions of it were insulated. A good amount of work had been done."
Struble didn't know Tuesday what parts of the home can be saved. Officials from the building department will have to inspect the structure.
Since Jan. 1, Steamboat Springs firefighters have put out fires at three homes.
A blaze early Jan. 3 burned a barn-turned-apartment to the ground at 28200 Thorpe Mountain Drive.
Later that evening, a fire caused damage to a home at 29940 Rock Point Trail in Stagecoach.
On Jan. 15, firefighters responded to 425 Blue Sage Court where a chimney apparently started a garage on fire. The fire destroyed the garage and a vehicle parked inside. It also caused smoke damage to the inside of the house.
"All the fires are under investigation," Struble said. "We are busy. January is falling in line from where we left off in 2000."
Last year, the 28-member volunteer fire department responded to a record 623 fire calls.