The Saratoga Sun -

Valley firefighters respond to Encampment three-alarm fire

Thirty-foot flames destroy home

 

Doug Radunich

Charred debris from a work shed ravaged by fire late Saturday night is all that remains of the structure behind 507 McCaffrey Ave. The fire reportedly started in the shed and moved to the home in front of it. Sunday morning firefighters were investigating the scene to find the cause of the fire and ensure the fire was completely out. Firefighters were on the scene until 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

A blazing fire swept through a house and shed in Encampment Saturday evening, destroying both structures and requiring help from firefighters in three communities.

The fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Saturday evening which extensively damaged the entire house, a backyard work shed, two vehicles and a camper. The damaged two-story log house, located at 507 McCaffrey Ave., in Encampment, was a family residence.

Crews from the Encampment Fire Department arrived on the scene around five minutes after the first emergency call, while firefighters and equipment from Saratoga and Ryan Park also responded. As many as 10 firetrucks carrying firefighters and apparatuses from the three towns came to put out the blaze.

Cory Nuhn, the Carbon County Fire Department's Encampment Division Chief, said the large blaze was officially extinguished by around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, around nine hours after the fire broke out. He said some crews stayed on site for investigation until around 1 p.m. Sunday.

"There were probably 25 personnel members on site, and there were about 39,000 gallons of water used," Nuhn said. "What I saw were 30-foot flames in height, and the houseis now completely destroyed. There were at least two 911 calls right after the other for the fire, and they were within a couple of minutes of each other. Everyone got out safely, and there were no personnel injured in any way.”

The house was where Linda Sander resided, and her son, Kurt Stewart, lived with his daughter, Regin, in the home’s separate upstairs apartment. Carbon County Fire Warden John Rutherford, who was onsite to investigate, had spoken with Stewart after he escaped with his daughter and nephew staying at the home at the time.

“I asked him what got his attention, and he said he heard a loud boom behind the house,” Rutherford said. “He went to the window and saw that his shop was on fire. As bad as it was, fortunately there were no occupants or firefighters who were hurt or injured.”

Joella Vacher, sister of Linda Sander, said it was a vehicle explosion by the shop that grabbed Kurt’s attention.

“Kurt said he was in the shower and saw lights flickering, and pretty soon he heard a big boom, which was his vehicle by the shop that blew up,” she said. “The fire started in the three-room workshop, and then started to burn the back of the house. He was able to get his daughter and nephew out of there in time.”

Rutherford said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, and that Carbon Power and Light utility workers came to the site because power had to be cut from the house. He said two power lines were directly involved, and that one line was burned completely in half.

Rutherford said the fire started either inside or outside of the backyard workshop, but that it was too soon to tell what the exact cause was.

Doug Radunich

The roof and rear of the Encampment home received the most structural damage in the fire. Two vehicles and a camper were also severely damaged.

“We have interviewed witnesses, neighbors and occupants and still have folks to talk to, but right at this point we’re calling it undetermined,” he said. “There was a significant loss, also involving the workshop area, two vehicles and a camper, and we started cutting folks from the crews loose at around three in the morning once we got a handle on it. They may be able to salvage some stuff on the first floor of the house, but everything on the top floor is destroyed.”

An online donation drive has been set up where people can help Linda’s family with housing, food, clothing or anything else lost in the fire. To contribute, visit http://www.youcaring.com and under search fundraisers type “This family needs help”.

The search will take you to the link “This Family Needs Help- Everything Lost in Fire”. Click on that link to follow instructions to donate.

If anyone wishes to donate household items, they can drop them off at the home of Dana Bromley, Linda’s daughter, located at 311 West Eighth Street in Encampment or at the cabin behind Vacher’s Big Horn Lodge at 515 Freeman in Encampment.

 

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