Dawn fire damages Avon condo complex | VailDaily.com

Dawn fire damages Avon condo complex

Dustin Racioppi
Avon, CO Colorado
Eagle River Fire Protection District photoA fire broke out around 5 a.m. in the pool room at the Beaver Creek West condos in Avon, Colorado

AVON, Colorado ” Stubborn, sky-high flames ravaged nearly one-quarter of the pool building at Beaver Creek West Condominiums early Wednesday morning in Avon, Colorado.

The fire broke out around 5 a.m. in the mechanical room of the building where the condo’s pool and hot tub are, said Battalion Chief Cipriano Tafoya, of the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

It spread to the area between the ceiling and the roof, Tafoya said, and burned for about four hours until crews from Eagle River and Vail Fire Department were able to put the fire out.

“We just kept chasing it until we finally got it out,” Tafoya said.

Eagle River’s deputy chief of operations, John Willson, said because of the winter construction of the building ” designed to keep heat in and cold out ” Wednesday morning’s blaze was a hard-won challenge for crews containing it.

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“We went with Plan A, then moved to Plan B,” Willson said. “It just got up in the roof and it ran the roofline basically.”

A press release from the district’s fire chief, Charlie Moore, said firefighters were able to control the fire within about 45 minutes, but because of a structural collapse in the roof, it took another two hours to fully extinguish. Moore said the collapse of the roof made it difficult to access the mechanical room. Firefighters were finally got into the room after removing a security fence and cutting through an exterior wall.

Moore said about 20 percent of the building was damaged and there was extensive damage to the boiler, mechanical system and a part of the roof. Moore estimated the damage at $100,000.

Beaver Creek West’s Property Manager, Mike Bennett, said because of how long it took to fight the fire, it may have seemed worse than it actually was. The pool equipment is all in good shape, he said.

“What can you do?” he said.

Dennis Reeves was asleep when the fire erupted just several yards from the condo he is staying for the week. His wife, however, caught the first glimpse of flames.

“My wife got up at 5 a.m. and said the flames were shooting as high as the fourth floor,” Reeves said.

When he woke up, he watched as firefighters struggled to contain the fire for the next couple hours.

“They kept knocking holes in the wall. I guess every time they let some more air in, the flames would shoot up,” he said.

Along with about 60 others from the Southeast, Reeves is staying for a week at Beaver Creek West with a skiing group. But since he dislocated his shoulder on one of his first runs Monday, Reeves’ alternative plans were ruined when he woke up Wednesday.

“I was looking forward to the hot tub since I can’t ski anymore,” he said.

Luckily no one was injured, but Bennett said the complex definitely could’ve done without the damage it suffered.

“We just have a lot of people in-house that want and expect pools and a hot tub,” he said.

Bennett said he’s optimistic to have the building back open for business soon.

“I’m hoping to have it back and running in two or three weeks,” he said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by Eagle River fire, but Moore said the point of origin was above the mechanical room, leaving the suspicion of some sort of mechanical failure.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or dracioppi@vaildaily.com.

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