Photo by Matt Stensland
Yampa Fire Protection District Chief Dan Allen says 20-foot flames were coming from this house at 640 Fourth St. in Yampa when firefighters arrived Thursday.
Updated December 31, 2010 at 9:27 p.m.
Steamboat Springs An electric baseboard that caught a couch on fire is suspected of being the cause of a house fire in Yampa on Thursday morning.
Yampa Fire Protection District Chief Dan Allen said 20-foot flames were coming from the house on Fourth Street when firefighters arrived shortly after 7 a.m.
Stella Stonehocker rents the home with her three children. She said she was in bed when she noticed a smell. She went into the room and saw the couch smoldering. It burst into flames within seconds, she said. The rest of the house was silent, including the smoke alarm.
“It didn’t go off,” she said.
Stonehocker went into another room in the front of the house and told her eight-year-old son and his friend staying over to get up and get out of the house while she went for her cell phone.
“By the time I got back, the kids were out of the house,” Stonehocker said. “They were like little superheroes.”
The fire quickly spread.
“It happened so fast,” said Stonehocker, who has lived in South Routt County for five years. “That’s where people make mistakes. You don’t go back in.”
Everything in the house is destroyed, Stonehocker said, except possibly a couple unopened Christmas presents for her kids.
Stonehocker said she is not soliciting help, monetary or otherwise, but if people want to help, they can contact the First Baptist Church of Yampa at 970-638-4622.
“I know everyone wants to help,” Stonehocker said. “There is just not a lot that can be done.”
One local company already has offered assistance. Stonehocker said Mountain Resorts contacted her employer, Steamboat Central Reservations, and put her up in a condo.
Stonehocker said she has spoken with her landlord, and they hope to have the damage repaired quickly so she can move back in with her family.
Fire damage was contained to a single bedroom, but there was heavy smoke damage throughout the rest of the house.
“It was so heat- and smoke-damaged that there wasn’t a lot salvageable,” Allen said. “It’s kind of sad, especially this time of year.”
Allen reminded people to keep heaters away from other objects.
“They need to keep good spacing in there, especially when it’s so cold,” he said.
Firefighters from the Oak Creek Fire Protection District helped Yampa firefighters while a crew from Steamboat Springs stood by in Oak Creek in case there was an emergency in that area.
“We’re fortunate to have mutual aid with Oak Creek and Steamboat,” Allen said. “It worked quite well.”