Colorado River Fire Rescue saves three dogs from structure fire south of Silt on Tuesday night

Colorado River Fire Rescue crews arrived on scene Dec. 23 to this a structure fire on CR 311 south of Silt. Courtesy photo

A family and their three dogs are safe after their home south of Silt caught fire, according to Colorado River Fire Rescue.

Around 7:18 p.m. Tuesday night, first responders were called to a structure fire near CR 331 and Chair Bar Road, about four miles directly south of town. Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett said a neighbor about a mile to the east initially reported the fire.

When CRFR arrived on scene, a large fire had already involved the exterior of the house and was making its way inside, Sackett said. Fire crews immediately attacked the blaze, keeping it from further consuming the interior of the house.

During this time, fire crews discovered three dogs in an unburned portion of the house and got them to safety.

“Kudos to the crew and their fast response for being able to get a quick knock down of the fire, doing a quick search of the house and saving the animals,” Sackett said.

The family of the residence was not inside the house at the time of the fire.

“It wasn’t long that we got there that the family did show up,” Sackett said.

It took about 3.5 hours for fire crews to control the fire and subsequently clear the area. The house is currently uninhabitable, Sackett said.

“That’s devastating to any family that has their home that has caught fire. They were very excited that their pets and their animals were still alive because they’re also part of a family. Portions of home can be replaced; animals — that’s hard to replace.”

The family and dogs are currently being helped by the American Red Cross, said Sackett.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.


Tuesday night’s structure fire was one of two significant structure fires CRFR covered that day. In fact, the entity received 16 total calls on Tuesday.

“That’s a busy day for us in a 24-hour period,” Sackett said. The calls ranged from emergency service requests to fire alarms. “Our crews knocked it out of the park with their response to everything (Tuesday).”

One of those calls was to a structure fire Tuesday afternoon.

A storage shed off Ute Avenue in New Castle caught fire due to an unintentional equipment malfunction, Sackett said. The fire was immediately knocked down by fire crews and kept from extending to surrounding fires.

It took about 1.5 hours for fire crews to fully extinguish the threat and clear the area, Sackett said.

No one was injured.

Since Dec. 17, CRFR has covered an additional four significant fires:

Dec. 17: Around 3:40 a.m., fire crews were called to the Comfort Inn in Rifle. According to Sackett, a beverage machine experienced an electrical malfunction, causing smoke detectors to sound. All the occupants had evacuated the structure. Sackett said the entire third floor of the structure was filled with smoke when fire crews arrived. It took about two hours for fire crews to clear the area. One hotel occupant was taken to Grand River Health.

Dec. 19: Around 3:30 p.m., fire crews responded to a structure fire at Cottonwood Springs Park in Rifle. Sackett said crews arrived on scene to flames in and outside of the mobile home. They immediately knocked down the fire and were able to prevent it from spreading to surrounding structures. No one was inside the structure at the time of the fire and no one was injured. It took responding agencies about 2.5 hours to control and clear the area. The fire is still under investigation.

Dec. 22: During early morning hours, CRFR was called to a shed that caught fire in King’s Crown Mobile Home Park in Rifle. Crews immediately performed an offensive attack on the fire and prevented it from spreading to surrounding structures. A wall of a neighboring structure, however, did sustain some melting damage, Sackett said. It took crews about 2 1/2 hours to control and clear the area. The fire is still under investigation.

Dec. 23: Around 7:30 p.m., fire crews responded to a house fire 10 miles south of Silt on CR 311. The house, which was completely engulfed by the time fire crews arrived, was a total loss. No occupants were inside of the house at the time of the fire. Crews were on-scene for about 5.5 hours. Authorities also made additional return trips to the scene. The family of the house was helped by the American Red Cross. The fire is still under investigation.

Using a wood stove? Trying to stay cozy by the fireplace?

Here are a few tips imparted by Colorado River Fire Rescue Chief Leif Sackett to ensure you stay safe this winter when operating with an open flame.

1. Make sure to keep carbon monoxide monitors in your residence. Sackett says this will help detect if something’s up, especially during this time of year.

“As people start using their stoves and their furnaces, we want to make sure they don’t have any leaks,” he said.

2. People using wood stoves should always dispose of their ashes when they’re cold, and so far away from their house.

“Sometimes what we’ve seen in the past, people would put the ashes on their porch and they could still be hot and they could start a fire that way,” Sackett says. “And make sure ashes are disposed of properly — not on deck or in a plastic bucket.”

3. Apply regular maintenance and cleaning for your chimney. Sackett says that byproducts of burning wood can build up on the inner walls of the chimney.

“Regular maintenance and cleaning for your chimney will avoid a build up of creosote.”

4. Keep your driveways well maintained and shoveled. That way it’s a lot easier for first responders to access your home in case of an emergency. “I can’t stress that enough,” Sackett said. “It’s not just a benefit for us, but it’s also a benefit to the person who lives there for possible slips, trips and falls.”

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