Highlands structure fire sparked by sauna heater
A structure fire in the Winter Park Highlands area sent Grand County fire crews scrambling early Saturday morning, April 23, as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.
According to officials from the East Grand Fire Protection District the conflagration was sparked some time around 1 a.m. Saturday morning and occurred in a home located on County Road 859 in the Winter Park Highlands community.
East Grand Fire’s Acting Chief Dennis Soles explained the fire was started accidentally by several individuals who were staying at a home in the Highlands area as guests. According to Soles the guests arrived at the home sometime around midnight on April 23 and turned on the home’s sauna heater, mistaking the sauna’s controls for a central heating thermostat.
After turning the home’s sauna heater on the guests of the residence then went to bed. Shortly thereafter a futon type mattress being stored in the home’s sauna was ignited by the heating element. One of the guests of the residence awoke shortly after 1 a.m. and discovered smoke, prompting the emergency call.
After arriving on scene firefighters from East Grand pulled hose and investigated the location of the fire, which was on the lower level of the home. “I’m pretty certain the sauna was completely destroyed,” said Soles. Soles explained that the lower level of the home saw extensive damage from both fire and water but that the damage was mostly contained on the lower level.
The East Grand Fire Protection District was paged out at 1:14 a.m. Saturday morning and arrived on scene at 1:22 a.m. Along with the East Grand Fire Protection District both the Grand Fire Protection District and the Hot Sulphur Springs/Parshall Fire Protection Districts responded to the call. According to Soles approximately 20 personnel including representatives of the Grand County Sheriff’s Dept. responded.
Firefighting crews were able to clear the scene finally at 4:45 a.m. and return to their local fire stations for cleanup and after action work. Soles confirmed there were no injuries as a result of either the fire or firefighting efforts.
“The guests were fortunate,” said Soles. “The fire was between them and the door. They were able to get out of the building with the clothes on their backs but in their bare feet.”
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