Fire authorities investigating two Keystone arson fires |

Fire authorities investigating two Keystone arson fires

Ashley Dickson
Keystone, CO Colorado
Eric Drummond/Summit Daily Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Berino points out the ignition point among a pile of charred tennis nets set on fire with a 'flick of a bic' early Sunday morning inside a storage building at the Keystone Tennis Center.

KEYSTONE, Colorado ” For the second weekend in a row, fire authorities from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue were called to an arson in the middle of the night, this time responding to two separate fires intentionally set at resort facilities in Keystone, Colorado.

Shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, firefighters were dispatched for a general smoke alarm at the Keystone Lodge and Spa, and arrived to find a small fire started in a linen closet on the second floor.

Ironically, many guests staying in the hotel that night were in town for an emergency services conference, and Durango Fire Department chief Dan Noonan happened to be staying down the hall from the linen closet. When he saw smoke coming from under the door of the linen closet he used a hand-held fire extinguisher to buy time for fire crews.

“When we got there it was obvious the fire had been intentionally set, and the smoke detector in the closet had been tampered with,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue public information officer Brandon Williams said.

Fire crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire before it spread to any other rooms in the building, and firefighters cordoned off the area for investigators to begin collecting evidence.

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue battalion chief Travis Davis was outside the hotel waiting for the residual smoke to clear when he noticed rising smoke that appeared to be coming from the north side of Highway 6.

Davis sent a Lake Dillon engine crew to track down the source of the smoke, and firefighters discovered an active fire inside a storage facility formerly used as the Keystone Tennis Center.

“It was clear that there had been forced entry into the building and a pile of old tennis nets had been set on fire,” Williams said, adding that the storage facility was not heavily monitored and did not have an active sprinkler system.

“It’s concerning anytime anyone starts a fire deliberately,” Williams said. “Arson fire are not something we want to handle a lot, but it seems like we are handling them with greater frequency now.”

Investigators from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office are now trying to determine if the two fires are related, and if they have any connection to an arson fire last Sunday morning at the Keller Williams Real Estate offices in Frisco.

“We haven’t seen this many in quite some time,” Pam Henderson with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said. “This is now an active investigation that we are taking very seriously.”

This weekend also marked opening day on the slopes for Keystone Resorts and, although guests at the hotel were forced to evacuate for safety precautions, the fires did not have any impact on the resort’s operations, according to Keystone spokeswoman Kate Lessman.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the Keystone arson fires to contact Summit County Sheriff’s Office detective Jenkins Franklin at (970)453-2232 ext. 325.

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