Tree Haus fire remains under investigation

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— The Routt County Sheriff's Office and the Steamboat Springs Fire Department are still investigating an April fire that damaged a home in the Tree Haus subdivision. They are trying to determine the cause of the fire and whether arson was involved.

Routt County Sheriff's Investigator Rachelle Redmond said that the sheriff's office gets involved with many fire investigations that are suspicious or have no obvious cause.

"Pretty readily, there were no explanations for this fire," Redmond said. "When you don't have a cause you really have to start looking at evidence."

Redmond said that the possibilities for the cause and origin of the fire have been narrowed down. No criminal intent has been confirmed.

Besides the sheriff's office investigating possible criminal activity, the fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire, and the homeowner's insurance company is conducting an investigation as well, Redmond said.

A neighbor in the Tree Haus subdivision noticed the smoke coming from the property at 36897 Treehouse Drive about 6:30 a.m. April 10.

The basement and first floor of the 3,000-square-foot home were damaged. Part of the first floor collapsed after the fire was extinguished.

"There was a lot of fire damage to the house," Redmond said.

She could not estimate the damage costs or whether the house was still structurally sound.

The sheriff's office is waiting for evidence, including burned debris, to be examined by private laboratories, as well as evidence from the insurance company, Redmond said.

At the time of the fire, the home was listed for sale at $879,000. Homeowner Scott Rouda had been trying to sell the property for about two years.

Redmond said that Rouda was living in Steamboat Springs at the time of the fire, and he was in the process of moving out of the state.

"As far as I know, he is still in the Routt County area," she said.

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