Smoking material cited as possible cause of Glenwood Springs house fire
Four adults and two children are sleeping in hotels after their home was engulfed in flames Monday afternoon.
Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said Tuesday that it’s still very early in the investigation, but initial indications are the fire was started by “improper disposal of smoking material.”
When the fire began, Sopris Elementary School pupils at recess nearby alerted their teachers to the smoke, and fire and emergency responders rushed to the scene. The house was a complete loss, but no one living in the house was injured.
Friends organizing donations Tuesday told the Post Independent that a couple, D.T. Thompson and Danielle Diaz, were renters who lived in the home with their 3-year-old son and another 25-year-old man.
Another woman, Ayla Smith, was living at the house with her 3-year-old daughter, Amity. For Smith, the fire came on the heels of another tragedy. About a month earlier, her partner committed suicide.
In a statement she sent to the Post Independent through a friend, Smith wrote, “I was there. I watched mine and several others’ lives burn away.
“I am in shock. … Amity and I need everything, we lost everything.”
The community has been quick to donate. Friends have been scrambling to organize the donation effort and keep people from giving items the families can’t use while they’re living in hotels or duplicating items. They’ve set up numerous avenues for people to contribute.
Grease Monkey, 3106 South Glen Ave., held a donation drive Tuesday morning, and owner Loren Fletcher said the business will act as a drop-off point for as long as is necessary.
Glenwood Self Storage Center, 3410 South Glen Ave., has also donated a 10-by-15-foot unit for donated items the families can’t store at the hotels. The business asks donors to check in at the front desk to be escorted to the storage unit.
Friends ask that people donate only items in good repair, as any excess items will be donated to Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity, said Matt Smith, who is helping organize the effort.
Supporters have also set up a donation site, http://www.gofundme.com/2zc39efn, that will contribute to Thompson’s and Diaz’s family.
Friends also set up a donation for Ayla Smith following her partner’s suicide, which can still be contributed to at http://www.gofundme.com/zzy5q4hg. Donations can also be made to Alpine Bank under Ayla Smith’s name.
Ray Alexander, who also helped organize the donation effort, said the families could especially use gift cards to stores and restaurants.
The families could also use clothes: women’s small to medium clothes, size 10-to-12 jeans, women’s 8.5 or 9 shoes, toddler girl’s 3t/4t clothes, toddler boy’s 4t/5t clothes, size 9 in toddler shoes and men’s 2xl clothes.
Diaz is a massage therapist, so to get back to work she could use items like sheets, oils and aromatherapy oils.
On the investigation, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent came to the site Tuesday to assist local officials, who have not found any obviously suspicious evidence at the site, said Tillotson.
An insurance company investigator hasn’t yet been to the site, so Tillotson’s team isn’t digging too intensely to avoid destroying any evidence.
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