New Castle fire destroyed home, priceless memories |

New Castle fire destroyed home, priceless memories

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox | Post IndependentThe home owned by Patty and Jerry Greene burned down north of New Castle on Thursday.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – A June 10 house fire in New Castle left two renters with few possessions and no place to live, and destroyed a lifetime of memories for the owners.

Patty Greene, 65, and Jerry Greene, 69, owned the home, located at 982 County Road 245 in the Hidden Valley area north of New Castle, which was ravaged by the blaze. The couple had been renting the house to two men – one of whom had lived at the residence for two years, while the other had moved in just a few weeks before.

The fire started about 3 p.m. and quickly spread to a barn that contained many items belonging to the Greenes, who used the building for storage.

“We had so many things stored in there, mementos that went back generations,” Patty said.

The fire spread quickly and burned approximately an acre of land surrounding the house, too. However, fire crews were able to contain the blaze before it got out of control. According to Burning Mountains Fire Protection District Chief Brit McLin, the cause of the fire had yet to be determined.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire, but the Greenes lost many personal belongings. Their two tenants, Donn Hofmeister and Jack Rosengren, lost nearly everything they owned.

“At least we have another home,” Patty said. “They lost their home and everything they own.”

The Greenes were on vacation in South Dakota when the fire broke out. They cut their trip short and returned home to find the house that they lived in for 13 years completely destroyed, along with many of their possessions.

The Greenes built the house in 1990 and had been renting the property since 2003, according to Patty. Since then, the Greenes have lived during the winters in Yuma, Ariz., and lived in a motor home on the property during the summer months in Colorado. They are currently staying in the motor home as they deal with their insurance company over the fire.

Despite their own loss, Patty was also concerned with the loss that her tenants sustained.

“Jack in particular, it was his home for two years,” Patty said. “Not having renters insurance, he lost everything he owns. It’s so sad.”

According to Patty, Rosengren was able to find a temporary living situation with an acquaintance in the area. Hofmeister had been staying at the Rodeway Inn in New Castle since the fire occurred.

“I’ve kind of recovered from the emotional shock,” Hofmeister said. “It’s a new start and I’m facing it.”

Hofmeister was the only one home when the fire broke out and had to run down to a neighbor’s house to call emergency services. He said he remembered hearing a thunderous “whooshing” sound “like a high pressure hose on a window.”

“I thought it was either water or fire,” he said.

When he opened the door to the foyer area of the house, it was filled with smoke.

Neither tenants had renters insurance. They have both received immediate disaster relief from the Western Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross.

According to Scott Cline, emergency services manager for the Red Cross in Grand Junction, the organization was following up with both Hofmeister and Rosengren Wednesday afternoon and would provide further assistance if needed. As of Thursday morning Hofmeister was still looking for a permanent place to rent.

The Red Cross will also aid in helping the gentlemen find temporary housing until more permanent accommodations are found.

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