House fire linked to candles |

House fire linked to candles

WILDERNEST – A fire that left a Wildernest family homeless Friday was likely started by candles, fire inspectors said Saturday.

Fifteen Lake Dillon and Snake River firefighters put out a fire at a Burgundy Circle duplex reported about 4:30 p.m. Friday. The home is owned by Dick and Tawnya Helmling.

The Helmlings and daughter Elissa Stewart had just put the home under contract to sell in preparations for a move to Germany in June.

Snake River Fire inspector David Williams said he traced the source of the fire to a stereo system near the fireplace where candles appeared to have been burning.

The Mountain Branch of the American Red Cross assisted the family with shelter for the weekend.

Williams said the fire investigation will continue. The house suffered extensive smoke and heat damage because the fire spread to a wall space and then floorboards, he said.

“Any longer, and we could have lost the house,” Williams said.

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