Blaze engulfs Sweetwater structure north of Dotsero

Firefighters arrived to a fire in a rural area near the Eagle County/Garfield County line to find this woodworking shop completely engulfed in flames Wednesday morning.
Special to the Daily |

GYPSUM — A Wednesday morning fire leveled a woodworking shop in Sweetwater, north of Dotsero.

The call came in just before 10 a.m. Wednesday when a neighbor said flames were 30 feet high, and were jumping to treetop levels.

The structure, 1300 Sweetwater Road near the Sweetwater Resort, is 1.2 miles into Garfield County up Sweetwater Road.

No one was in the structure at the start of the fire, said Justin Kirkland, Gypsum fire chief.

When 23 firefighters arrived, they had to deal with numerous explosions, Kirkland said, as well as all kinds of other hazards, such as large propane tanks, acetylene tanks, wood piles, woodworking and welding machinery.

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“Our first action was to cool and protect a 500 gallon propane tank that was exposed to the fire,” Kirkland said.

Since there are no hydrants in the rural area, several trucks were used to pump and transport water from a private pond and eighth of a mile away.

Because the area is so remote, it took fire fighters 31 minutes to get there from Gypsum. The fire was under control about an hour and a half after the call came in at 9:51 a.m., Kirkland said.

The structure was a total loss. Kirkland said that while it remains under investigation, it does not appear suspicious.

Agencies responding include Gypsum Fire Protection District, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Eagle County Airport Fire/Rescue, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Vail Public Safety Communications Center, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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