Minturn couple’s house catches fire |

Minturn couple’s house catches fire

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyEagle River Fire Protection firefighters check for hotspots on a house after a fire started on the outside of the home Wednesday in Minturn.

MINTURN – A Minturn couple’s house went up in flames Wednesday as two good Samaritans driving by called 911 and helped try to put the fire out.

Robert and Elaine Martinez’s home, in the 800 block of Main Street in Minturn, caught fire late Wednesday morning. Minturn residents Joe Acevedo and George Esparsen were driving by just as the home began to go up in smoke, and pulled over to help.

Esparsen ran across the street to call 911 from another residence as Acevedo helped Robert Martinez try to get the fire under control with some water hoses.

“We almost put it out,” Acevedo said. “But the fire was growing faster than the hoses could produce water.”

Acevedo said Robert Martinez, who runs his trucking business out of the home, told him to back off because he feared some of his welding equipment nearby could blow up. Shortly after that, the Eagle River Fire Protection District arrived.

Esparsen said he thought the house was gone because the flames were so high, but Minturn town spokeswoman Lisa Osborne said the damage is mostly to the exterior of the home, with minimal smoke damage inside.

Twenty-five firefighters responded to the scene with three pump trucks and one ladder truck. The incident closed Highway 24 in front of the home for about 45 minutes, Osborne said.

Charlie Moore, chief of the Eagle River Fire Protection District, said the department is investigating the cause of the fire.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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