Female victim identified in explosion, structure fire

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    Sunday, 8 p.m. update:
    The female victim in Friday night’s explosion and structure fire has been identified  as Electra Churchill, 45, of Shreveport, Louisiana.
    “It was a terrible tragedy,” said Archuleta County Coroner Brandon Bishop when making the announcement.
    An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
    Saturday, 11:30 a.m. update:
    According to Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman, the female victim in last night’s explosion and structure fire was located at 9:39 this morning with the assistance of a cadaver dog from Upper Pine Fire District. The body was recovered at 10:25 a.m. and turned over to the Archuleta County Coroner’s office.
    The incident happened in a two-story structure that was adjacent to the main home. Woodman noted that there was significant damage to the main home but no other damage to area homes was reported as the result of the incident.
    By Derek Woodman, Undersheriff
    On Oct. 11 at approximately 7:12 p.m., Archuleta County Sheriff’s deputies overheard a loud explosion in the vicinity of the Aspen Village subdivision, behind Walmart. Simultaneously, Archuleta Combined Dispatch began receiving numerous 911 calls indicating that there had been an explosion and fire at 994 Cool Pines Dr. in unincorporated Archuleta County in the Timber Ridge Ranch subdivision.
    One of the 911 calls was made from inside of the residence by one of the occupants indicating the existence of the explosion and subsequent fire. The caller indicated that there were two occupants in the structure at the time of the explosion.
    The first deputy arrived on scene at approximately 7:19 p.m. As the deputy arrived, he identified one male party, later identified as Fred Phillips, 72, of Shreveport, Louisiana, suffering from severe burns and other related trauma. Phillips was conscious and did indicate that a female was still in the structure. Phillips was rescued from the perimeter of the structure by civilian bystanders who witnessed the explosion. He was transported to the Pagosa Springs Medical Center via ambulance. Phillips was later transported to a Denver-area hospital via Flight for Life where he remains in critical condition.
    At the time of this press release at 8:25 a.m. on Saturday, the female victim has not been located. The debris field of the structure is very extensive and had hot spots of active fire throughout the night. Pagosa Springs Fire District had crews on scene all night addressing the hot spots.
    The Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office has reached out to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation to recover the body and to determine the cause of the fire.
    Agencies responding were the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Pagosa Springs Fire District and the Pagosa Springs EMS.
    There is no further information at this time.

    Pagosa Fire Protection District update

    By Pagosa Fire Protection District Public Information Division
    Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) responded to a call on Oct. 11 for a reported explosion and corresponding structure fire on Cool Pines Drive at approx. 7:13 p.m.
    Upon arrival, the first due engine completed a scene size up noting a single residential structure with active fire, smoke and substantial structural damage. Due to the fire activity and conditions, rapid search and an exterior fire attack was initiated. Protection measures were also implemented on additional residential structures neighboring the active fire.
    The residence was occupied by two adults during the time of the explosion.
    PFPD responded with five engines, two chief cars, maintenance vehicle and over 20 firefighters. The residence is located in an area serviced by hydrants. Mutual aid from the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department, Town of Pagosa Springs Police Department and Pagosa Springs Medical Center ambulance assisted on scene. Upper Pine Fire District Engine 61 also responded to aid in the effort.
    PFPD has been on scene since the initial call out. Ongoing search efforts will continue throughout the day.
    One civilian was transported to Pagosa Mountain Hospital. There were no firefighter injuries to report. The origin and cause of the fire is under investigation at this time. Investigators from Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department and Colorado Bureau of Investigation will be on scene today to assist in the investigation.
    The request to avoid the area is still in effect to allow emergency personnel unimpeded access to the scene.
    Additional updates will be released as information becomes available.