Firefighters limit damage in structure fire


    Staff Writer

    Early detection helped save an Archuleta County home from extensive fire damage Friday, Jan. 11.

    At about 2:10 p.m. on Jan. 11, the Pagosa Fire Protection District was dispatched to 657 Far View Road, located in Aspen Springs, for a reported structure fire.

    By the time the scene was cleared at 7 p.m., the fire had been contained to the area of origin, the chimney chase, according to David Hartman of the PFPD.

    Hartman reported that, although some drywall had to be removed to ensure the fire had not spread, the fire resulted in minimal damage to the house and belongings in it.

    While the cause is still under investigation, Hartman said one of the factors that aided in the suppression of the fire was early notification, with the homeowners contacting the PFPD as soon as a fire was suspected. That early call then gave the PFPD time to react to the fire, especially because of the house’s distance from town.

    Hartman said two engines, three tenders and one support vehicle responded with 16 firefighters.

    “It was a real good deal and we’re fortunate the wind quit blowing when it did,” Hartman said.

    With the majority of house fires occurring in the winter months, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released the following tips to help prevent fires:

    • Give heaters space. Keep anything that can burn, such as paper, bedding and furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment.

    • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

    • Make sure the venting for exhaust is kept clear and unobstructed, including removing snow from around the outlet to the outside.

    • Make sure fireplaces have a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before being put in a metal container. Keep that container a safe distance from your home.

    • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer instructions.

    • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is created when fuels burn incompletely.

    • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.

    • Never use the oven to heat your home.

    • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

    • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

    • Test smoke alarms monthly.

    For complete safety during system failure, Hire a Fire Watch Officer as a contingency plan.

    For additional safety tips, visit