Log Hill VFD Fire Reports Summary

by Jack Rairden (updated 1/21/15)

 

This report is a summary of the recorded fire calls for the LHVFD that I have found.  Prior to 1995, there are very few documented fire calls in the archives.  Since 1995, much more complete records were found.

We are very fortunate through the years to have experienced relatively few serious fires or related emergencies; however, it is incumbent on the Fire Dept. officers and members to maintain a high level of readiness and not be complacent.

We have had five total loss structural fires in recent history, 2009 became a historically disastrous year because there were three destructive fires in a period of less than two months:

1.  A house on Cactus Drive burned to the ground on Oct. 31, 1997.  Hot fireplace ashes had been dumped near dry lumber stored beneath a second floor deck.  The lumber caught fire which extended to the plastic propane gas line that entered the house.  The heat melted the line, which resulted in a fire blast impinging on the log exterior of the house.  By the time the first Fire Dept. units arrived on scene, the fire was completely out-of-control.  With the mutual aid support of the Montrose Fire Dept. and the Ridgway Volunteer Fire Dept., the fire damage was limited to the house - there was no extension of the fire to surrounding buildings or other property.  The house was subsequently rebuilt.

2.  A house on Wisteria Drive burned to the ground on December 16/17, 2003.  The source of the fire apparently was overheated electronic equipment in the basement.  No one was home at the time - by the time it was discovered and called in, it was out-of-control.  With mutual aid support of the Montrose Fire Dept. and The Ridgway Volunteer Fire Dept. the fire damage was limited to the house - there was no extension of the fire to surrounding buildings or other property.  The house was subsequently rebuilt.

3.  A house at mid-mesa on Molly's Way was extensively damaged by fire on November 3, 2009.  The owner reported the emergency by a 911 call shortly before 5:00 am - no one else and no pets were at the house.  The fire was out-of-control when firefighters from the Log Hill Volunteer Fire Dept. with the mutual aid support of the Montrose Fire Dept. arrived at the scene in about 15 to 20- min.  Log Hill Fire Chief John Rogers was Incident Command. There was no extension of the fire to other buildings or other property.  No injuries were reported.

4.  A mobile home on County Road 22B was totally damaged by fire on November 25, 2009.  The fire call went out at 2:41 am on a blustery cold morning with several inches of unplowed snow on the roads.  On arrival at the scene, the structure was fully involved and a nearby truck was on fire.  Fire personnel under the command of Asst. Chief Tom Austin controlled and extinguished the fire.  No injuries were reported.

5.  A house on County Road 1 near Ridgway suffered extensive fire and water damage due to a chimney fire on December 25, 2009.  The fire call was paged at 2:34 pm.  Log Hill Fire Chief John Rogers was Incident Command - Montrose FD and Ridgway FD provided valuable mutual aid support.  Cold temperatures and a difficult to access to the roof of the three-story home required over three hours to get the fire under control.

We have had two serious loss structural fires in recent history:

1.  In 1992 a house on County Road #1C suffered severe fire, smoke and water damage due to an overheated electrical source.  No one was home at the time - a next-door neighbor discovered the fire and reported it.  With mutual aid support from the Montrose Fire Dept., the fire was extinguished and many of the household furnishings were saved.  The house was subsequently restored.

2.  In 1999 a house on Sage Brush suffered severe fire, smoke and water damage due to an overheated electrical source.  No one was home at the time - a nearby neighbor discovered the fire and reported it.  With mutual aid support from the Montrose Fire Dept., the fire was extinguished and many of the household furnishings were saved.  The house was subsequently restored.

3.  On the evening of Feb. 9, 2014, there was a serious explosion in a workshop at 7620 County Road 1 due to leaking propane gas. The owner of the property suffered serious burns of his hands, but remarkably escaped from the structure even though egress through the doorways was blocked. The workshop was a total loss; however, prompt response by the LHVFD prevented any further extension of the fire. The homeowner completely recovered from his injuries and the workshop is being rebuilt.

Following is a brief summary of reported fires by category:  

    1995 - 2014 2015 Total
  Wild land 78 6 84
  Structural  21 3 24
  Auto/Accident  13 1 14
  Other 97 8 95
  TOTAL 199 18 217

 

*Fire report info from Marian Austin re: wildfire on 7/7/13, written 7/8/13:

"Last night was a bear of a fire call!
It was a one-tree lightning strike, but there was no way to get to it except by foot!
Tom, Dick K. and I, hiked up from about the 5600 block on CR 1- we drove east from CR 1 about 1/4 mile, but then there was no other choice but to hike up Pinon Ridge.  The worst part of that hike was the steepness and the scree fields that we had to pass through, (and carrying the water packs!)  We got there about 45 minutes before the guys coming up the east side of McKenzie Butte.  The tree that was on fire was growing straight out of a scree field and we didn't have any dirt to work with.  We had to watch our footing like crazy so that we didn't turn an ankle or throw ourselves off of a cliff! 
The two Dowdy's, Forest Bault, and John Rogers drove in from the south side of McKenzie Butte and hiked west (up and then down).  They also carried water packs.  Their hike was not easy either because we all had to hike out that same way since Jarrott had a GPS point to find their trucks.
Jarrott had also brought the chain saw and he diced the tree up because we kept seeing smoke from a hole in the tree at the base- we worried that fire would be inside the tree.
So all in all, an exhausting night.  Thank heavens we didn't have another fire call while clinging to the side of the cliff!"

 

We have been very fortunate throughout the history of the LHVFD to have a very limited number of serious incidents - of course, even one incident is one too many.

Wild land fires are a frequent reason for fire calls in the Log Hill Mesa Fire Protection District.  Most of such fires are due to lightening strikes.  These often occur during the months of July and August when thunderstorms are most prevalent.  "Dry" thunderstorms offer the greatest threat of causing an extensive fire.  Lightening strikes from thunderstorms during the rainy "monsoon season" will often extinguish themselves.

Click here for a more extensive summary of the incidents through the years that required significant actions the LHVFD firefighters.

 

 

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