Woman douses fire the old-fashioned way

Fire chief's mom pours buckets of water onto burning cabin

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The 5-gallon buckets of rainwater Sandy Wisecup was storing for her chickens came in handy Friday morning when she used them to douse a fire burning in the corner of her cabin.

About 9:30 a.m., something sitting close to a coal-burning stove in the kitchen caught fire and burned a roughly 10-by-10-foot area in the two-room cabin on Colorado Highway 131.

Wisecup dumped about 10 buckets of water on the fire. She and her husband, Dick Wisecup, had the fire almost extinguished when the Oak Creek Fire Protection District arrived. The fire department put out a few hot spots that remained in the walls and roof.

Sandy Wisecup, as a member of the Oak Creek ambulance crew for 21 years and mother of several firefighters, including Oak Creek Fire Chief Chuck Wisecup, had a good sense of what to do when she saw smoke billowing from the cabin.

She called for her husband, who was farther from the house than she was, then went into the back of the cabin to call 911. She cut short her call.

"I knew I had to get water on the fire," she said.

The rustic cabin, which was built in the 1940s, has no running water, but Sandy Wisecup had buckets of rainwater close by that she stored for her chickens. She also threw on the fire coolers of water taken from the well for drinking and cooking.

If they didn't have the buckets nearby and had to use water from a well more than 1,000 feet away, Sandy Wisecup said the fire would have been much worse and could have destroyed the cabin.

She was treated for mild smoke inhalation when the ambulance arrived.

No structural damage was done to the cabin and nothing irreplaceable was lost, she said.

"We just have to patch a little hole in the roof and (open) some windows," she said from the cabin just a few hours after the fire.

Chuck Wisecup, who responded to the call, said there was a lot of smoke and fire damage.

One fire engine, a tender and an ambulance were on the scene. The Oak Creek Fire District had called the Steamboat Springs Fire Department for backup, but it was called off once the damage was assessed, Chuck Wisecup said.

Because his parents do not have fire insurance on the cabin, Chuck Wisecup said an investigation is not being performed.

Sandy Wisecup said she and her husband have lived in the cabin for two to three years and had plans to move into a new house in the next few months.

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