Cause still undetermined in Monday’s fatal house fire

MEEKER — Officials are still trying to find out what caused Monday morning’s fatal fire.
Deborah Seebaum, 52, of Meeker was killed in the early morning blaze, which consumed a two-story rental house at 237 13th St. The house is owned by Gianinetti Investments of Carbondale.
Even though the cause of the fire is under investigation, Chief Bob Hervey of the Meeker Police Department said he could rule out one possibility.
“I can tell you at this point there is no indication of foul play,” Hervey said.
The police chief said his department will continue to head up the investigation.
“We will handle it here unless something comes up that we’re not seeing at the moment,” Hervey said when asked if the Colorado Bureau of Investigation would be called in.
“She was the only person in the house at the time,” Hervey said. Seebaum’s mother also lived at the residence but was not home because she was a patient at Pioneers Medical Center.
“Apparently, she lived with the daughter, but she was in the hospital at the time (of the fire),” Hervey said.
The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning caused by smoke inhalation, according to Ran Cochran, Rio Blanco County coroner.
The fire was reported by off-duty Rio Blanco Sheriff’s deputy Clay Caldwell. The call was received at the dispatch center at 6:13 a.m.
“He (Caldwell) lives in that trailer park,” said Steve Allen, Rio Blanco Fire Protection District chief. “He described (the fire) as being fully involved, meaning the whole structure was involved in the fire. There were active flames coming from the building.”
Caldwell was unable to enter the house because of the intensity of the fire, according to a press release from the Meeker Police Department.
“As far as I know, once the deputy was on the scene, flames were coming out pretty good,” Hervey said. “It was just too hot (to enter the house).”
As a result, Caldwell didn’t know if the house was occupied at the time he called in the fire.
Luke Pelloni was the officer on the scene for the Rio Blanco Fire Protection District. He said three fire trucks and an ambulance responded.
“When we got there, flames were showing out of three sides (of the house) and the upstairs windows,” Pelloni said.
He said it didn’t take long to put out the blaze.
“We had it under control in probably 10 or 15 minutes,” he said.
It was during the mop-up stage, Pelloni said, when he was told there had been a person inside the house.
“We didn’t know it at the time (when firefighters arrived on the scene),” Pelloni said. “Then, after we brought the fire under control, they said there was somebody who was not accounted for. Pelloni wasn’t sure in what part of the house the body was found.
“The house was so tore up inside (from the fire),” he said. “It was a total loss.”
A family member of Seebaum’s arrived at the scene, but was not in the house at the time of the fire.
“There was no one else injured in the fire,” Police Chief Hervey said. “A relative came to the scene and experienced chest pains.”
According to Drew Varland, chief nursing officer at Pioneers, “We didn’t treat anybody from the fire.”