A sigh of relief – the house is still there | PostIndependent.com

A sigh of relief – the house is still there

Samantha Pal
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RULISON ” The Orosz family was sure that they had lost their home to the 301 Fire Friday night. But t hey took solace in the knowledge that they were all safe and they were together.

They were in Grand Junction for a doctor’s appointment when they got a call about the flames that were moving quickly up the ridge to their house in Rulison, Susan Orosz said. Neighbors offered to gather some of their belongings for them, but the smoke was so thick that they had to get out, said Susan.

“The next call was that the house was burning,” Susan said. “I just thought it was fortunate that my family was with me.”

Their house did not burn, but the blaze edged right up to their property ” uncomfortably close.

“You can see where the fire stopped,” Susan said, pointing to their fence. “I don’t see any reason why it would stop.”

Susan said it was luck, but she also gave credit to the fire crews who worked until midnight to make sure the house was saved.

The Oroszes were prepared with a 500 gallon tank on their truck that they keep just in case of fire, so with the permission of fire crews they, along with others from the community, helped drop water on the flames.

“We certainly don’t want people to just flock in to help,” Kevin Whelan of Rifle Fire Protection District said. “But we had determined that it was safe and that they were helping.”

Susan Orosz’s son, Brandon, had just come back from fighting in Iraq. He came home expecting to relax, but the excitement hasn’t stopped, she said.

“This is our third run this year,” Susan said of the recent fire scares. “You take pictures, things that can’t be replaced, and go.”

She said they were keeping those valuables somewhere else until they knew it was all clear.

Whelan pointed out that they had done an excellent job of wildfire mitigation in their yard, with trees generously spaced from each other.

The Oroszes moved from Rifle five years ago to their house, and they have views of the valley from the ridge where their house sits.

Their backyard views are different since Friday night. The field that met their property was black and smoky, with red marks where slurry had been dropped.

“I can’t tell you the (number of) calls that have come in from the community,” said Susan. “A small town rallies together. We thought we lost everything, so we’re so relieved.”

Contact Samantha Pal: 384-9105, spal@postindependent.com

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