Friday, February 27, 2004
A wooden barn in Elk River Estates burned to the ground Friday morning, destroying two trucks, snowmobiles, a boat and a trailer stored inside it.
Although firefighters could not save the barn, they did prevent another barn about 40 feet away from igniting. No people or animals were injured during the fire.
The cause of the fire at 29577 Elk View Drive was undetermined as of Friday afternoon, and Steamboat Springs Fire Inspector Bill Jaschke said the investigation could take two to six weeks.
The owner of the barn, Chris Haight, was on vacation and had not been notified of the fire as of Friday afternoon.
The Steamboat Springs Fire District received the first report about the fire at 8:16 a.m., and the first firetruck arrived 10 minutes later. A fire engine was used to fight the fire, while water tenders from Steamboat and the North Routt Fire Protection District were used to shuttle water to the site from the Steamboat Springs Airport, the closest water source at about 4 miles away. An ambulance also was on scene.
Firefighters knew from the start that the barn, which was less than 3 years old, could not be saved. Instead, crews focused their efforts on keeping the second, nearby barn cool and wet so it would not ignite, Jaschke said.
The 60- by-40- foot barn that burned had a 60-by 14-foot addition that contained hay, a box truck with a trailer and boat, a snowmobile trailer with two snowmobiles inside and a passenger truck.
"Due to the fuel load in there, the distance to any water source and the response time ... once the fire got going, it pretty quickly involved the structure," Jaschke said.
When crews arrived on the scene, the second barn was so hot that steam rose off it when firefighters started spraying it with water, Jaschke said. The building likely was close to its ignition temperature.
"(There is) a high probability that it would have caught on fire had the fire department not responded," Jaschke said.
At least one person was on the scene when the fire was still small, Jaschke said. The person tried to help extinguish it but didn't have a water source or fire extinguishing equipment so instead got out of danger. Jaschke could not release other information about the person or people on site.
Routt County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Weiss was the first officer to arrive on the scene and said he felt the intense heat from the fire. Neighbors came together to help direct fire engines and help in any way they could, he said.
None of the equipment stored inside the barn was salvageable, Jaschke said. The cost of the losses has not yet been estimated.
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