4 trailer homes destroyed in fire
A fire that leveled one trailer, destroyed three others and killed a dog Friday afternoon might have also robbed a Pear Park family of an irreplaceable possession: the ashes of an 11-year-old who was shot to death less than a year ago.
April Irwin, aunt of Caden Eric Randolph, who was killed in an accidental shooting Nov. 12, 2016, looked dazed Friday afternoon as she sat on a curb with friends on either side near her home in the 400 block of Morning Dove Court in a neighborhood near D and 31 Roads.
“I heard a big kaboom,” she said. “I didn’t think anything of it because I always hear fireworks.”
Nobody was injured in Irwin’s house, which caught fire after the explosion. But Caden’s ashes were in the home, Irwin said. So were Irwin’s mother-in-law’s and one of Caden’s great-grandparents.
Irwin’s house, just north of the house that was leveled at 414 Morning Dove Court, will likely be deemed a total loss, said Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Dirk Clingman.
Several neighbors said the trailer next door to Irwin’s, which by 5:20 p.m. was reduced to a heap of twisted rubble, was the first to catch fire. Several people said the trailer had been vacant for months.
Clingman said that he couldn’t confirm where the fire started, and that the cause of the fire will be investigated by the Clifton Fire Protection District, the lead agency. Clingman said Friday evening that three dogs were in one of the trailers that was destroyed, and that only two survived.
In total, four trailers were destroyed, a fifth was damaged and a shed was gutted, Clingman said. No people were injured.
More than one neighbor described hearing a loud bang, including Cristina Applegate, who was at her sister’s house nearby when the fire broke out.
“All I know is I was in (my sister’s house) and I heard a loud boom,” Applegate said. “It sounded like something exploding.”
Julia Alvarado, who lived with mother Nancy Brink at one of the other homes that was heavily damaged, said she heard a loud bang before the fire.
It sounded like “something exploding,” she said. “I looked out and saw that pillar of smoke.”
Brink was in the kitchen cooking and didn’t hear anything. She didn’t know what was going on until neighbor Randall Beek came and told her to get out, she said.
Beek was relaxing at his friend’s house across the street when his 10-year-old daughter told him to look.
“It was just like a pop and she noticed,” Beek said.
Neighbor Ruth Mustian, whose home was not damaged by the fire, said 414 Morning Dove Court was overrun with weeds and in disrepair.
“We’ve complained about that house for months,” she said.
Brink’s sister, Orchard Mesa resident Bobbye Horton, said she has spent the last several days trying to find out what the local HOA is responsible for.
“I basically got the runaround,” she said, adding that Thursday — the day before the fire — she filed a complaint with Mesa County Code Enforcement. “This is a prime example of what happens when an HOA doesn’t enforce the rules.”
Grand Valley fire crews stayed busy Friday evening. Clingman said the Morning Dove Court fire was Clifton’s third that night. While crews from both Clifton and Grand Junction worked to contain the flames, one Grand Junction Fire Department crew was diverted to the 2900 block of Hall Avenue, where another fire broke out suddenly in the back of a trailer.
Resident Susan Clark, a Daily Sentinel paper delivery person, said she didn’t even know her house at 2969 Hall Ave. was on fire until a neighbor came and hustled her out.
“He told me, ‘Get out of here!’” Clark said Friday evening as she sat in a car with her great-grandchildren down the street.
Grand Junction resident Ryan Meyer said he smelled smoke from a friend’s house across the street. He said he ran to Clark’s house, stamped out a small brush fire between her house and her next-door neighbors, then ran door to door telling people to evacuate.
“I came out and there was smoke,” he said. “I just started clearing houses basically.”
Clark and her son were uninjured in the fire, which by 6:30 p.m. seemed to have destroyed the back portion of her trailer.
“I never thought that this would happen to me,” she said. “Everything I own is in there.”