At least three residences have burned in recent days
Dennis Montoya watched in disbelief as the rural rental home, where he and nine members of his extended family lived, smoldered after a Wednesday fire.
“I can’t let the house stay like this,” he said, watching firefighters from the Grand Junction Fire Department break out windows and remove charred debris from the home at 856 22 Road.
Eight people were home when the blaze was called into emergency dispatchers at 11:10 a.m., but everyone escaped unharmed after the home’s smoke detectors went off.
And, Montoya added, “The fire department was out here in minutes.”
The fire that started in one of the home’s east bedrooms, which two girls shared, caused about $200,000 worth of damage, Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said.
The Western Colorado chapter of the Red Cross was on scene to assist the family, who will need accommodations after smoke damage made the house unlivable.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, Page said.
Fast work by firefighters Tuesday night and Wednesday may have averted tragedy at two other Grand Junction residences.
Faulty electric wiring, perhaps overloaded by space heaters, caused a fire just after 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Rosevale neighborhood, Page said.
Five people were evacuated from the home at 259 Montana Road. When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke coming from the attic. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof to access the fire, which investigators say started when an electrical wire shorted in the attic. Damages are estimated at $2,000.
The homeowner told firefighters there were recent troubles with the circuit breaker, Page said.
“It is wintertime, and people are adding electrical heaters. People need to pay attention,” he said. “Rather than just turning circuit breakers back on and moving forward, you really need to check out those electrical issues.”
In another fire, a dozen residents of a Grand Junction apartment building were evacuated at about 7 p.m. Tuesday as the exterior of their building, fencing and two storage sheds were licked by flames.
Firefighters responded to the building at 255 Beacon Court at 7:23 p.m. and controlled the fire soon after. No one was injured in the blaze, which caused an estimated $10,000 in damages to the building, firefighters said.
The fire was caused when a portable propane heater placed in a covered area ignited combustibles on the ground and quickly spread to the exterior of the building and into the sheds, the Fire Department said.
Reporter Le Roy Standish contributed to this story.