Old heater confirmed as cause of Granby motel fire
January 11, 2010
The fire at the Frontier Motel early Sunday morning started at an old heater near the motel’s leased commercial kitchen, Granby Police Chief Bill Housley confirmed on Monday.
The heater is believed to have been as old as the building itself, which is estimated to have been built in 1951.
An investigator from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation assisted in determining the cause of the fire. Upon concluding that the furnace malfunctioned, the investigation is deemed closed, pending any new information that might come out of insurance investigators’ review of the furnace, Housley said.
“There is nothing at this point that would suggest it was an intentional act,” the chief said.
The Frontier Motel is owned by the conglomerate SLJL LLC of Granby.
Occupants at the motel, which included one individual who was staying in the building where the fire started and six guests in the accompanying building that was not affected by the fire, plus two managers in on-site housing, were all awoken by fire responders around 5:30 a.m.
The fire had reached into the ceiling above the person who occupied room 126, a fire official said. That occupant was evacuated by the fire department.
There were no reports of injuries.
Firefighters worked through a morning that had dipped to -13. They were commended by the state investigators for suppressing the fire when they did, which “made the investigation so much easier to locate the origin of the fire,” Housley said.
Grand Fire Protection District Chief Dave Boyes said he appreciated the job firefighters did in stopping the fire and thanked the fire departments of Hot Sulphur Springs and the Fraser Valley for sending help.
Sherry Kent, owner of Showboat Catering and the new Drive-By Pie drive-through in Granby, leased the motel’s commercial kitchen for nine years and now is facing a total loss of appliances and catering equipment she’d amassed over the past 15 years, including stoves, mixers, slicers, refrigeration units, a double-stack oven, utensils and other appliances.
“But nobody got hurt, that’s all I really care about,” Kent said on Monday. “We could have been mourning the death of someone today.”
Kent said she aims to “persevere,” and has been offered temporary use of another commercial kitchen so that she may remain open at the Drive-By Pie shop – “business as usual.”
She did not have any catering dates lined up for this week, but had planned on being at the Frontier Motel kitchen that Sunday morning for Drive-By prep.
“In another 15 to 20 minutes, I would have been there,” she said.
Kent is in the process of finding another commercial kitchen where she can work long-term.
“You can always lose your stuff. It’s just stuff. I have an amazingly good attitude about it that everything is going to come out fine.”
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.