Two victims identified in Old Snowmass house fire

Aspen Times staff report
A firefighter with Roaring Fork Fire Rescue hoses down debris of a house at 655 Monastery Cutoff Road on Tuesday. Investigators were able to scour the site for human remains and clues to the origin on Wednesday.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The identities of the two victims of the Old Snowmass fire Monday morning were confirmed by the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office as the parents of the home occupant.

The victims were Henrie K. Coerdt, 76, and his wife, Barbara “Suni” Coerdt, 71, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, according to authorities.

They are the parents of Clint Coerdt, who suffered extensive burns while trying to save them at the home in the Shield-O-Mesa subdivision. Clint Coerdt is being treated at a Denver hospital.

Clint Coerdt’s fiancé, Kate Sartain, escaped injury in the fire.

A GoFundMe page established by friends of the couple said Coerdt received second-degree burns to 44% of his body.

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Searchers were able to verify that there were human remains in the debris and ashes of the home Wednesday, according to Parker Lathrop, chief deputy of operations at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

“The coroner’s office was able to recover some of the remains that were left,” Lathrop said. “With that heat, there wasn’t much left.”

The fire was reported at 2:15 a.m. Monday in the remote, rural subdivision in unincorporated Pitkin County. The log home and a nearby barn were totally destroyed, as was an RV camper parked in between them. The debris was so hot that investigators couldn’t begin their search until Wednesday.

Lathrop said the intensity of the fire also makes it difficult to identify the cause and manner of the fire.

“It’s going to be difficult to say this is where it started,” he said.

However, the Sheriff’s Office has ruled there was nothing suspicious about the fire, he added.

The site was turned over to investigators from one or more insurance companies Thursday.

Witness statements had established that the Coerdts were caught in an upstairs bedroom at the time of the fire but the coroner’s office wanted to verify that human remains were in the debris before they released identities of the victims, Lathrop said.

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