Two homes burn in Riverside neighborhood

Smoke wreaths a burning house at dusk as Grand Junction firefighters struggle to put out a blaze in the 100-year-old home at 829 W. Main Street. The three residents of the house escaped unharmed, and a second house that was unoccupied at the time was damaged in the blaze.

Russ Schuckman and his wife Norma, at left, wait by a fire department vehicle and watch as firefighters struggle to put out a stubborn blaze at their home at 829 W. Main Street Friday.

Four people were displaced from their homes Friday night when a fire burned two structures in Grand Junction’s Riverside neighborhood.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. the Grand Junction Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 829 W. Main St. The homeowners, Russ and Norma Schuckman, were home at the time and got out of the house unharmed.

The Schuckmans had an upstairs tenant who was not home at the time, plus a tenant in a smaller, adjacent house that sustained damage to its exterior. The tenant in the separate structure was out of town at the time of the fire.

As the first emergency crews responded, neighbor Dave Guillen tried to help fight the fire with a garden hose, he said.

Soon after, 21 firefighters arrived. They thought they had the fire under control, but at approximately 7:35 p.m., the fire flared up and engulfed the attic.

Crews evacuated the home, readied extra hoses and began to fight the fire from the outside.
Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said structural damage necessitated the change in approach. It was an old structure that had been remodeled a few times, and firefighters struggled to access the fire in the nooks and crannies of the attic, Page said.

He estimated there was more than $100,000 in damage, mostly to the main house. He said the cause still is being investigated.

Russ Schuckman is the semi-retired development manager for Marillac Clinic, which provides health care for people who cannot afford it.


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