East Vail fire sparked by electrical problem
The blaze broke out at the Windstream Condominiums at 4295 Columbine Drive around 12:30 a.m. May 2. Most residents were sleeping when their condominiums began filling with thick, black smoke.
Firefighters responded quickly but had trouble finding the source of the fire because it was burning inside the walls of the 18-unit complex. A fireball erupted from the top of the building when firefighters hacked open the roof of the complex.
Sixteen residents were displaced by the fire, though firefighters retrieved some of their belongings the morning after the fire.
Vail Fire Marshal Mike McGee said investigators have traced the origin of the fire to electrical outlets in an adjoining wall between two apartments on the first floor.
A final determination of the cause will be made pending laboratory analysis, McGee said.
The fire did $1 million damage. Six condos will need to be completely rebuilt. The condition of the remaining 12 condominiums will be reviewed by building code officials, McGee said.
Investigators from the Eagle River Fire Protection District, Greater Eagle Fire Protection Department, Vail Fire and Emergency Services, two private investigators and an electrical engineer contributed to the investigation.