Colorado News Roundup: Firefighters continue to combat blazes |

Colorado News Roundup: Firefighters continue to combat blazes

Public safety

Crews work in cooler weather to try to stop Colorado fire

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. — Firefighters are working in cooler weather as they try to stop a southern Colorado wildfire that has destroyed five homes and has forced residents of more than 250 properties to evacuate.

The fire has scorched more than 25 square miles since starting Monday near the town of Westcliffe when high winds blew a metal outbuilding into a power line.

Temperatures were only expected to be in the 50s on Wednesday. But while some mountains have a fresh dusting of snow, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Gayle Perez says no precipitation is expected at the fire.

Denver airport school bus crash cause remains mystery

DENVER — Police are closing their investigation into why a school bus filled with football players and coaches crashed into a pillar at Denver International Airport without being able to find a cause.

The Sept. 11 crash killed the driver, 43-year-old Kari Chopper, and injured 18 passengers from Legacy High School, who were returning from a game in California.

Sgt. Michael Farr said Wednesday that there were no mechanical problem with the bus and nothing in Chopper’s history to suggest the crash was intentional. An autopsy found that she had an enlarged heart and that she may have had a medical problem but that couldn’t be determined for sure because of the injuries to her body.

Adding to the mystery, Chopper was circling back toward the airport terminal when she crashed but no one knew why.

Remains found at Colorado ski resort ID’d as Denver man

BOULDER, Colo. — The mystery surrounding a human foot found in a snow boot at Eldora Mountain Resort this summer has been partially solved.

The foot and other remains found nearby were identified Wednesday as those of an 83-year-old Denver man, Ervin Mettler, who had apparently been camping in the area. Boulder County coroner Emma Hall is investigating how he died, although foul play isn’t suspected by sheriff’s investigators.

The foot in a size 13 boot was found June 1 after the snow melted by a ski resort worker. In July, a trail runner found more remains about three-quarters of a mile from the resort’s lake near a lake where it appears Mettler had been camping.

Mettler’s identification card was also found, and his identity was confirmed with dental records, Hall told the Daily Camera. DNA evidence was also used to link the two sets of remains, she said.

It’s not clear exactly when Mettler died, but his remains are believed to have been there for several months. Mettler’s landlord tried to report him missing in February in Denver, but a report wasn’t filed because the person wasn’t family, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Wagner said Thursday.

Investigators found that Mettler was an outdoor enthusiast who liked to camp — even in the winter — so it’s possible he could have been camping at that time, Wagner said.


Trump running mate Mike Pence campaigns in Durango

DURANGO, Colo. — Mike Pence is predicting Wednesday’s final presidential debate will revolve around “bigger things” facing the nation, rather than controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton.

The Republican vice presidential nominee still used a Wednesday rally in Durango, Colorado, to hammer the Democratic nominee with a litany of familiar Republican attacks.

But Pence told hundreds of Donald Trump supporters that “this election is about a lot bigger things than her small ethics.”

He cited national security, the economy and Supreme Court appointments, and he said he expects those issues “are going to be talked about tonight.”

Pence plans to attend the Las Vegas debate.

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