Summit firefighter dies while battling condo fire in Copper Mountain
DILLON — Summit Fire & EMS firefighter Ken Jones, 46, died after falling from the roof of a Copper Mountain condo building early Saturday, when crews were working to battle a fire at that location, according to a Summit Fire & EMS Facebook post.
The fire was at the Bridge End condo complex, 860 Copper Road, near the base of Copper Mountain Resort.
The fire was first reported by a call to 911 at 1:51 a.m. Saturday. Jones and a crew from the Copper fire station were the first on scene minutes later, according to Summit Fire spokesman Steve Lipsher.
Jones headed to the roof of the five-story building to find a way to access the fire. He fell shortly before 2 a.m., according to the Facebook post.
After the fall, emergency workers called to ask for help from another fire station outside of the Summit Fire department.
“We had an engine crew from Vail come over the pass and continue to work on extinguishing the fire while we relieved our crews as soon as we possibly could,” Lipsher said.
At this time, little is known about the cause of the fire or Jones’ fall, both of which will be investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, according to the Facebook post.
The building was evacuated, and no one else was injured in the fire, according to Lipsher.
On-duty death a first for Summit Fire
Jones’ death is the first in Summit Fire department history, according to the Facebook post, and leadership in the department is working to support Jones’ family — including his wife and two children — along with the Summit Fire team.
When asked what the fire department is doing to support its employees, Lipsher said, “everything that you can think of that compassionate humans would do for friends and family and colleges — and Ken was all of that to all of us.
“We, like every other fire department in the country, have guidelines that we contemplate in sort of an abstract fire. … Emergency services and emergency responders have dangerous jobs, and it’s always a possibility, but until it actually happens, it’s such an abstract concept.”
Lipsher said the department would provide benefits for Jones’ family along with counseling for staff.
“The biggest thing is we want to take care of Ken’s family and ourselves and the broader community as the ripple effects of the tragedy spread,” Lipsher said.
Remembering Ken Jones
Jones, who was a 20-year veteran of Summit Fire, typically works at the Frisco fire station. He was at the Copper station overnight Friday to help out by covering a shift for overtime, according to Lipsher.
Lipsher, who joined Summit Fire about a decade ago, called Jones “soft spoken” and “just a decent human being.”
“Ken was a really quiet guy, and he loved to just be on the periphery, but boy did he pay attention, and he was really sharp about things,” Lipsher said. “He didn’t say much, but when he did, it was either insightful or bone-dry funny.”
Though a funeral is not yet planned, Lipsher said firefighters from around the sate and region would attend to show their support for a fallen firefighter.
“I think it’s really important to show the world who we lost, just as decent and sweet natured of a person as you would ever meet,” Lipsher said.
Additional information is expected to be released at a press conference at noon Saturday.