Multiple residents displaced after fire burns down home in Bond
The cause of the fire is still under investigation
Longtime Eagle County residents Thomas Anderson and David Cappetta were abruptly woken up just after midnight Friday, Oct. 15, as a fire began to consume their home in Bond.
Anderson and Cappetta, who both work for local construction company May Builders, had lived in the house on Copper Spur Road for nearly three years. At the time of the fire, Anderson’s girlfriend and two other friends also lived in the home.
Anderson said his two friends woke him up yelling about the fire. By that time, there were “already embers falling down in my room in front of me,” he said.
Anderson acted quickly, grabbing his dog and running outside. His dog, however, quickly turned and ran back in the home. And while Anderson was able to go back in and retrieve his dog once more, that was the last time he was able to enter the house.
“By that time, I didn’t have shoes on or anything, just pants and a belt, no shirt,” he said. “When I tried to go back in and just get boots or something, there were already embers falling everywhere — it was too hot and I couldn’t stay in there.”
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Cappetta was awoken in a similar matter. While the residents lived in the same home, Cappetta lived in what he called a “lock-off.” Anderson’s girlfriend abruptly woke up Cappetta, alerting him of the fire and instructing him to get out.
“All I could do was put my clothes on, and I went out and looked and could see that part of the house on fire over on their side and I tried to go in one more time with the flashlight, but the smoke was so bad you couldn’t see nothing,” he said.
Quickly, the residents called 911 and began moving vehicles — a few of which had to be pulled because the keys were inside the building — and other objects away from the outside of the home, Anderson said.
But the fire moved quickly.
“That thing went up like a freaking match, pretty quick,” Anderson said. “The fire department showed up, but it was already mostly on the ground.”
The call into 911 came around 1:56 a.m. on Friday morning, according to Tracy LeClair, a public information officer for Eagle River Fire Protection District.
First on the scene was the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office as well as crews from the Rock Creek Fire Department, a volunteer fire department serving McCoy, Bond and Burns. Rock Creek Fire arrived within 13 minutes, said the department’s Fire Chief Brita Horn.
“We were first on scene and I saw three sides fully engulfed, it was already churning up,” Horn said. “We started on the fourth side to keep it cooled down, because that’s where the big tree was. It was already on fire, so we started putting that out.”
Bond, however, doesn’t have hydrants on its properties that fire crews can use, because there is no municipal water supply. The Rock Creek fire crews brought over 1,000 gallons of water, but “we used it pretty darn fast,” Horn said.
So, they awaited backup from Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Gypsum Fire Protection District and Eagle River Fire Protection District, who arrived with more water and more resources.
“It’s difficult; the quicker we get there, the faster we can get water on it and keep the damage to a minimum,” LeClair said. “When you’re looking at extended response times, like you have up through Rock Creek from Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum, unfortunately, that’s a long time for a structure fire to establish itself.”
The other challenging factor, however, was the building itself.
“The building was built way back when it was the Copper King Mine Rush when there was supposed to be all this copper coming out of it,” Horn said, adding that it was built during the “World War I days.”
For nearly 35 years, she said, it operated as a post office and general store for the community until, in 1955, it closed and became a residential property. But even as it was converted for residential use, many original building elements remained.
“It still had all those original, big timber bones to it,” Horn said. “So even once the fire was out, it was still burning because of those timbers were still burning. There was a lot of weight to the building — this was not a new construction by any stretch, it’s close to 100-year-old construction.”
The crews on the scene officially declared the fire out at 11:46 a.m., nearly 10 hours after the initial 911 call, by which time, nearly nothing was left of the original structure. The scene continued to be monitored for hot spots as investigators went through the scene. The cause of the fire, Horn said, is still under investigation.
While the two temporary residents moved to Conifer — something that was planned before the fire — the three that remain in Eagle County have a long battle to rebuild everything that was lost in the fire.
Cappetta, as well as Anderson and his girlfriend, have received some support from the local Salvation Army and Red Cross. However, the gift cards and money received “aren’t going far,” Cappetta said. The funds were used to help find temporary places to stay and buy some essentials including clothing, but right now, their greatest need is housing.
Cappetta and Anderson’s boss, Ryan May, started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to get them back on their feet.
And still, the incident remains a bit surreal for Anderson and Cappetta.
“We’ve seen all these fires and people losing their homes and it sucks when it happens to somebody else,” Cappetta said. “But when it happens to you, you step back and look and go, ‘Woah. We got out alive.’”
To donate, visit gofund.me/a6ba064b