Nighttime fire destroys Battlement apartment |

Nighttime fire destroys Battlement apartment

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colorado – A woman, awakened by the smell of smoke, and her husband, who pounded on the door of a neighboring apartment that was on fire, are being credited with saving the lives of the apartment’s occupants, say Grand Valley Fire officials.

“She was a light sleeper,” said Tony Rowe, training chief for the Grand Valley Fire District. “They are probably responsible for saving these people’s lives.”

As it was, no occupants or firefighters were injured in the blaze, which occurred early on Thursday, March 22, at 854 W. Battlement Parkway, Building B, said Fire Chief David Blair.

Neighbors called 911 at 1:49 a.m., and the Grand Valley ladder truck was on scene at 1:56 a.m. By then, all the occupants of the building had gone outside, he said.

Blair said the fire was burning in the chimney chase, which ran up the outside of the two-floor, 16-unit apartment building, and had spread into the attic above the upper-floor apartment.

“The fire was minutes from falling through the ceiling and spreading into the apartment,” Blair said.

A team of 12 volunteer and staff firefighters got the fire contained by 2:15 a.m. and under control by 2:30 a.m., Blair said. The fire was put out at 3:39 a.m., and the last fire truck left at 4:48 a.m., but one firefighter stayed on scene until morning.

After the fire was controlled, firefighters went into the upper apartment and the ground-floor apartment below it, where the occupants had left their cats behind in the scramble to get out.

Blair said both cats were found, disgruntled but unharmed, and returned to their owners. The Battlement Mesa Co., which had been at the scene during much of the fire, made arrangements that night for residents of the two apartments to move into other units for the time being.

The other residents of the building were able to return to their homes that night.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Parachute Police Department assisted at the scene, and Grand Valley fire officials are working with the sheriff’s office to determine the cause of the fire.

“We know the point of origin, but we are still working to nail down the cause,” Blair said. “I believe it will end up being accidental.”

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