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Dozens displaced after Saturday fire

RYAN SLABAUGH
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox
ALL |

SUMMIT COUNTY ” The parking lot was empty outside Building G at the Dillon Valley East Condominiums Sunday afternoon, except for a trash pile filled with a few blackened belongings.

A lamp shade, love seat and pillow cushion, all once the decor in someone’s room, had been turned into evidence of a disaster that struck inside the eerily vacant building a day earlier.

Next door, even the weekend clubhouse was empty except for a table surrounded by four women discussing disaster strategy. They sounded like volunteers from the Red Cross. They were.

“Most all the residents are at work right now,” said Lindsay Ishman, an organizer who runs the Dillon office. “There were four, six, up to eight people living in the units, most who are working right now. But they were here yesterday dealing with the fire.”

The women talked about the clubhouse’s new purpose ” they called it a “service center” ” which the Red Cross will have open today and this week if necessary. There, displaced residents can receive “most anything needed,” Ishman said.

While no one was injured in Saturday’s fire, 50 were displaced, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesperson Brandon Williams. The response began after residents noticed smoke swirling around the blades of a ceiling fan. They called firefighters who, after noticing smoke around the building, the stairwell and inside several units, found no fire.

As Lake Dillon responders were joined by Red, White and Blue firefighters, Summit County Sheriff’s deputies and the Summit County Ambulance Service, firefighters detected heat behind the shared walls of four centrally located units, Williams reported.

“After opening exploratory holes, firefighters discovered fire in the ceilings, floors and extending up the walls …” he wrote in his press release Saturday night. “Firefighters immediately directed water into the walls and knocked down the fire. All fire was located and extinguished within 15 minutes of arrival on scene.”

Damage had been done. Residents crowded into the clubhouse hunting for information about their homes. Sheriff’s Office deputies escorted some less impacted inside to retrieve the essentials ” pillows, sheets, some clothing. Landlords scurried about to check residents into nearby hotels. Others weren’t so lucky. Six were forced to spend in the night in the clubhouse.

“Many didn’t have renter’s insurance,” Ishman said. “That’s really the only way a lot of them were going to get their stuff back.”

The fire is still under investigation and no cause is known, Williams said on Sunday, explaining, “There was a lot of fire damage at the point where it ignited. We have no reason to suspect anything suspicious.”

In the best case scenario, some of the displaced residents will return today. Others will never be able to return.

“Things are progressing,” Williams said. “They’re moving as fast as they can. The fact the Red Cross was there, and the Sheriff’s Office helped folks get a lot of their belongings out made a lot of the difference.”

If residents who have been displaced have questions about the fire, please call Brandon Williams at (970) 418-0562. Those wanting to help displaced residents can call the Red Cross and Dillon office director Lindsey Ishman at (970) 262-0530.


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