Wood-stove blaze guts Strawberry Park cabin
Fires contained in Hayden, Phippsburg
October 17, 2008
Steamboat Springs — A small Strawberry Park cabin was gutted by a suspected wood stove fire Wednesday night, and a number of vehicles were damaged Thursday afternoon outside Hayden when a controlled burn spread as a result of gusty winds.
No one was injured at the Strawberry Park fire, which started in a 400-square-foot cabin in the 43500 block of Routt County Road 36. Property owner Brady Wettlaufer spotted the fire at his tenant’s cabin, roughly 50 yards from his house, shortly before 7 p.m.
“I saw smoke coming out of the windows, so I ran down and grabbed my axe,” Wettlaufer said Wednesday night at the scene.
After hacking a padlock off the cabin’s door and ensuring his tenant was not home, Wettlaufer spent two fire extinguishers trying to fight the fire. He was unable to tackle the flames and called 911.
Upon arrival, Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue crews were concerned the fire could spread into the dense aspens around the cabin.
“When they got on scene, it was already fully involved,” Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble said. “The first steps they took was to prevent the structure fire from turning into a wildland fire.”
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The fire crew’s water tender made three separate trips to bring roughly 9,000 gallons of water to the cabin, about one mile from Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Firefighters remained on scene until nearly midnight to contain the blaze.
“They had quite a bit of hose delay – it was quite a remote location,” Struble said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is suspected to have originated in the cabin’s wood stove, Routt County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ken Klinger said.
Other fires contained
A grassfire that damaged six vehicles outside Hayden and a Phippsburg Dumpster fire were contained Thursday afternoon.
The Hayden fire started as a controlled burn off U.S. Highway 40 near the Hayden Station, but it spread when high winds kicked up in the area around 1 p.m.
“He decided today would be a good day to burn the grass in his backyard,” Klinger said. “It got out of control and smoked three vehicles and three snowmobiles.”
A crew of seven from the West Routt Fire Protection District had the fire contained by about 3 p.m., and kept it to a very small area of the property, West Routt Fire Chief Bryan Rickman said.
A Dumpster fire south of Phippsburg also was reported shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. The fire broke out in 21000 block of Haymeadow Lane, at the site of a home that burned to the ground in December 2007. Crews from the Yampa Fire Protection District contained the fire Thursday afternoon.