Antique bar, tractor survive structure fire south of Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Antique bar, tractor survive structure fire south of Steamboat

A Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters works on the roof of a building that caught fire Saturday south of Steamboat.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Firefighters cut through an icy pond to reach the water they needed to put out a structure fire just south of Steamboat Springs

on Saturday.

A person driving by the building at 31750 Routt County 22 called 911 to report the fire at about 9:40 a.m.

"Someone driving by on the road saw the smoke and called us," Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said. "There was not an alarm system in that building.”

The building serves as a barn and a residence. Stewart said no one was home when the fire started, and caretakers were last at the property Thursday.

According to Routt County Assessor records, the property is owned by Stephen and Debora Bergstrom of Texas.

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From Steamboat, eight on-duty firefighters and seven off-duty firefighters responded.

The Oak Creek Fire Protection District was called to help, and they brought a water tanker and two firefighters.

When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the corner of the building.

There were no fire hydrants in the rural area, and firefighters had to rely on other water sources.

"There was a pond in front of the barn," Stewart said. "We were actually able to walk out on the pond, cut through the ice and drop suction through that."

The fire was knocked down quickly.

"We were able to get water on it before it got any bigger," Stewart said.

He said the building was well constructed and tightly sealed, which limited the supply of oxygen and prevented the fire from growing quickly.

"My speculation is that the fire probably started several hours before it was noticed," Stewart said.

After all the flames were knocked down, a thermal imaging camera was used to detect heat in the roof line and attic space. A hole was then cut in the roof to access the area.

"Probably 50 percent of the building had some heat and smoke damage," Stewart said. "If it hadn't been so air tight, it probably would have been a much bigger fire."

The cause of the fire was still under investigation. Firefighters believe it originated in a utility room that houses a boiler, air compressor and electrical junction boxes.

"Those are kind of the three areas that we will continue to look at," Stewart said.

Ranch equipment inside the building was damaged, but firefighters were able to save a 17th century bar and a large tractor.

No firefighters or animals were hurt during the fire.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland