MEEKER I At about 3 p.m. on April 22, fire destroyed the home of Glen and Rose Abbott at 1107 Pinyon St. The garage was spared when Meeker firefighters on Engine 1 were able to contain the blaze. No one was in the house at the time, and there were no injuries.
Carol Crain, a neighbor across the street from the Abbott home, reported that she looked out her window and saw the house on fire.
“I was just so scared when I looked out that possibly someone was in there,” she said.
Fire Chief Marshall Cook was quickly on scene and conducted a 360-degree evaluation of the situation. He found fire presenting itself on two sides and venting through the roof in the area of the living room and kitchen of the 30 by 60 foot modular structure. Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola recalled that the home was originally set on site by Benny Jensen about 15 years ago.
The fire was initially fought with hand lines with the assistance of a master stream.
“Master stream” is a term for a water stream of 350 gallons per minute or greater delivered by a device such as a deck gun or deluge gun mounted on the fire engine. The master stream was soon shut down as the fire was under control with the hand lines.
Of critical concern to Chief Cook was trying to save the garage when the fire vented through the roof.
“Once it goes through the roof, you now have what we call a defensive fire,” he said after the fire. “Your objective is now to protect the exposures, not let the fire spread to other buildings, so you just start pouring water on it. In this case, once it started venting through the roof, our objective was to protect the garage, which was unhurt as we pushed the fire away from it.”
After the main body of the fire was out, firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots with the help of a thermal imaging camera. With that completed, the scene was turned over to the Meeker Police Department.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was also called to the scene the following day.
CBI agent Jerry Means, assisted by his K-9 partner Riley, investigated the scene throughout the day. The use of a K-9 is standard procedure because a dog can detect hydrocarbons left behind by the burning of accelerants, such as gasoline, which could indicate arson. The canine, “Agent Riley,” found none.
According to the official fire report by Chief Cook, dated Monday, the fire seems to have started in the living room, but the cause is listed as unknown.
“Due to the significant amount of damage in the room of origin, we are currently unable to determine a specific point of origin or ignition source,” the report reads. The report also stated that the “investigation continues.”