A firefighter with the West Routt Fire Protection District examines damage from a house fire Sunday night at 205 N. Poplar St. Community members and the Red Cross have pitched in to help the woman who was displaced by the blaze.

Bryan Rickman / Courtesy

A firefighter with the West Routt Fire Protection District examines damage from a house fire Sunday night at 205 N. Poplar St. Community members and the Red Cross have pitched in to help the woman who was displaced by the blaze.

Hayden community members pitch in to help woman displaced by fire

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Bryan Rickman / Courtesy

Firefighters with the West Routt Fire Protection District work to extinguish a house fire Sunday night at 205 N. Poplar St in Hayden. Community members and the Red Cross have pitched in to help the woman who was displaced by the blaze.

— It didn't take long for community members in the town of Hayden to step up and help a woman who was displaced Sunday night after her home caught fire.

“It's kind of like neighbors helping neighbors,” West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman said. “When I couldn't get a hold of the Red Cross right away, the Congregational Church stepped in to pay to put (the displaced homeowner) up in a hotel for the night.”

Rickman, who responded to the house fire, said it will be a while before the woman can move back into her home at 205 N. Poplar St. He said the blaze caused an estimated $30,000 worth of damage after it spread from a furnace room of the home. It also killed two cats inside the house.

“Obviously, she is distressed about what happened, but she seems to be doing OK,” Rickman said. “There's pretty extensive work to be done at the house before she's going to be able to live there.”

A couple of hours after the fire was extinguished, Rickman was able to get a hold of Red Cross volunteer Dan Bingham in Craig. Bingham traveled to the home Sunday night to assess the damage and plan aid for the homeowner.

"She was pretty rattled last night. She didn't know what the damage was and how soon she could get back into the house," said Bingham, a Red Cross volunteer since 2004.

But Bingham said it was evident the small town quickly was offering help.

Eric Myers, executive director of the Western Colorado Chapter of the Red Cross, said Monday that his aid group will be able to provide the displaced homeowner with temporary housing.

He added there are about 22 Red Cross volunteers in Routt and Jackson counties.

The homeowner in Hayden was the second in Routt County to be displaced by a house fire during the weekend.

Myers said aid also is being offered to a family that escaped a house fire in Steamboat Springs on Saturday morning.

And as firefighters continue to determine the cause of Sunday's fire in Hayden, community members say they're ready to provide more aid if it's needed.

Janet Babish, pastor at Hayden Congregational United Church of Christ, said church leaders could start up a food bank and send out a mass email requesting clothes if the homeowner says she needs any more help.

“You're left asking what in the world do I do right now,” Babish said. “Not only are you shocked by the event, you're also feeling overwhelmed with what to do.”

Fire prevention week

Next week is Fire Prevention Week across the country, and local firefighting agencies again will use it as an opportunity to educate the public about ways to avoid costly and dangerous fires.

Rickman said the structure fire in Hayden serves as a reminder to make sure smoke detectors are functioning properly. He said no detectors went off during Sunday's blaze.

“The other thing we try to stress with families is to do fire drills in the house and have a prearranged meeting place so everyone gets out of the house OK,” he said.

In Steamboat, firefighters soon will start a round of fire extinguisher lessons and visit local preschools and elementary schools to teach children about fire safety.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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