Updated June 8, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.
Steamboat Springs Officials have concluded that a fire that caused moderate damage to a hunting lodge owned by Cottonwood Land Co. south of Hayden on Tuesday was accidental.
West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman said the fire was first reported at about 5:50 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters arrived on scene shortly thereafter and extinguished the blaze.
The Routt County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were on the scene Wednesday investigating because authorities had been unable to determine the ignition source, so the fire was considered suspicious. They found that the source was the spontaneous combustion of a rag with deck sealant on it.
A caretaker was doing maintenance work on the property and had been using the sealant on wood siding at the house on Routt County Road 53 about 2 1/2 miles south of Hayden. The caretaker had put a rag down to catch drips, and Rickman said that was the source of the blaze.
No one was in the home at the time of the fire, Rickman said. He said the only structural damage was to a garage that had been converted to a mud room. Rickman said the damage was “probably in the $40,000 range.” The rest of the house sustained some water damage, he said.
According to the Routt County Assessor’s Office database, the 1,887-square-foot home was built in 1967 and has three bedrooms and one bathroom. It sits on 40 acres.