Early morning fire destroys homes in East Vail, displacing locals
A 5 a.m. structure fire in East Vail was quickly contained on Friday, but two people living in one of the two units involved have been displaced due to the severity of the damage.
Vail Fire Battalion Chief Craig Davis said the blaze broke out in a favorable location to get a quick response.
“It was like four houses down from our East Vail fire station,” Davis said.
Davis said there was an active fire in the east unit of a duplex on Columbine Drive when crews arrived at around 5 a.m. Three engines and a ladder truck were dispatched to the scene, with Engine One out of East Vail Station arriving first.
After determining the fire-consumed east unit of the duplex was unoccupied, “we quickly searched, with the help of Vail PD, the west unit, found two people asleep there, they were removed from the west unit unharmed,” Davis said. “But they have been displaced.”
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Davis said the department is currently working with its investigation team to determine the cause of the blaze and the needs of the displaced residents.
The situation could have been a lot worse, Davis said.
“We did have a ceiling collapse and a stone wall collapse,” he said. “No one was injured.”
Davis said the fire was first reported on the ground floor of the residence but had moved into the higher floors before firefighters were able to begin putting out the blaze.
“When I arrived, it had clearly extended up through the walls into the attic, which is a pretty dangerous fire to operate in,” Davis said. “But we had some incredibly well-trained firefighters who were able to quickly start controlling the fire.”
The attic is a common attic between both sides of the duplex.
“Our crews did an amazing job of getting to the attic fire from below, and that ultimately allowed us to start extinguishing the fire by pulling the ceiling,” he said. “Really good, aggressive firefighting from our people.
“With so much damage, it’s difficult to say exactly what caused it,” Davis added. “Our fire investigator and fire marshall are on scene working with some others to determine the cause.”
Davis estimated the department’s total time on scene was about three hours, with about one hour spent putting out the fire.
In addition to the Vail Police, Eagle River Fire Protection District was on scene along with Eagle County Paramedic Services.