Welder caused fire, investigators say | SummitDaily.com

Welder caused fire, investigators say

Christine McManussummit daily news
Summit Daily/Reid Williams A firefighter prepares to vent the roof of Deck Gore Range condominiums in Wildernest to allow water to reach hot spots below. No criminal charges will be filed as investigators have ruled the blaze an accident.

WILDERNEST – Investigators determined that a welder accidentally started the fire that destroyed several Wildernest condominiums on Friday, but no criminal charges will be filed.

According to a Summit County Sheriff’s report, the welder, Russell Frederick Ferris, was finishing work on the three-story wooden staircase at Deck Gore Range Condominiums on Friday afternoon. After painting the staircase and welding handrails, he left to get dinner at 5 p.m. When the 49-year-old welder returned at about 6 p.m., dozens of firefighters were battling the three-story blaze.After ruling out criminal charges, the matter becomes a civil one, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue assistant chief Jeff Berino said. Fire investigators determine how a fire started, but they do not distinguish between accidental and negligent causes.

“That’s for the lawyers to figure out,” said Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Chief Francis Winston.Ferris, who runs his own business called Ferris Fabrications, was unable to be reached. Ferris also refused to comment at the scene of the fire on Friday.

The fire destroyed three condos and damaged three more at the Deck Gore Range Condo complex on Ryan Gulch Road in Wildernest. Several pets died in the fire, but no human injuries were reported.

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