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Castle Rock News-Press Douglas County, Colorado • Volume 10, Issue 31 MAZE DAYS October 25, 2012 Free A Colorado Community Media Publication Blast deemed accident Insurance company takes over probe of home explosion By Rhonda Moore Where to next? It’s the question when navigating the 8-acre Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road. This group enjoys the 70-degree temperatures Oct. 21. The maze is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 28. Photo by Ryan Boldrey Scouting project thins trees to head off fires Work is intended as example By Rhonda Moore October — wildfire awareness month — brought with it a special gift for Douglas County residents in the form of a Boy Scout with a mission. Jordan Reisenburg of Aurora has been working on a project since April that brought him to Franktown and Douglas County wildfire mitigation specialists with an idea he hopes will help county residents for years to come. Reisenburg selected a 5-acre property in Parker, which in 30 years had overgrown with trees, undergrowth and what fire officials refer to as “ladder fuels,” the underbrush that fuels a fire when a forest is allowed to grow naturally. With the help of more than 30 volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 127, Reisenburg organized a workday Oct. 13 to trim and thin the overgrown trees, remove ladder fuels and create defensible space around the home where Marcia Cedars has lived for 32 years. In so doing, Reisenburg aims to develop a how-to brochure for residents who live in and around forested communities to inform them about the benefits of thinning their forests, much like a gardener weeds a garden. “People are going to see how to make defensible space, because if a wildfire were to come in through this area, this would be a property with less of a chance to burn,” Reisenburg said. “It Fire investigators determined the gas leak that leveled a Castle Rock home originated in the basement room where the furnace and water heater were contained. The home at 6942 Sulfur Lane in Sapphire Pointe was destroyed in a natural gas explosion around 7:15 a.m. Oct. 12. The five family members in the home, Lisa Martinez and her four children, survived the explosion with minor injuries, in an event Castle Rock Fire Chief Art Morales described as a “miracle.” “We found a house shattered,” Morales said. “We start tonight at a place of gratitude.” Morales shared the findings of the investigation Oct. 17 with about 160 residents who attended an open house at Fire Station 155, near the entrance to the Sapphire Pointe subdivision. He was joined by representatives from Black Hills Energy and the Castle Rock Police Department, who aided in the investigation until officials were certain the incident was not a criminal investigation. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families,” said Wes Ashton, with Black Hills Energy external affairs. “We’re so grateful for the outcome, it could have been so different. We want to know exactly what happened as much as you do.” By the time officials were ready to announce their findings, investigators were sure the gas leak was unintentional, Morales said. Based on witness accounts and the findings on scene, investigators believe the natural gas built up so that the point of ignition instantly consumed the fuel that had gathered, Morales said. The ignition caused the house to shatBlast continues on Page 6 NATURAL GAS RELEASE Boy Scout Jordan Reisenburg trims trees Oct. 13 during the workday of his Eagle Scout/Hornaday fire-mitigation project at the Parker home of Marcia Cedars. Photo by Rhonda Moore feels great knowing how I can make a big difference.” Reisenburg began working on his combination Eagle/Hornaday project in April, just before Colorado saw the kind of wildfire season that moved officials to cancel Fourth of July celebrations across the state. In the world of scouting, a Hornaday project recognizes an endeavor that demonstrates an outstanding effort in natural resource conservation and environmental protection. The idea for his project came from Karl Brown, a lifelong scouter and forester with the National Park Service, who is a Hornaday mentor with the Long’s Peak Boy Scout Council in Greeley. “You hope with this project to cause either project envy or the fire department can use it as an example to decrease hazards on other properties,” Brown said. “As we see more wildland/urban interface, more properties face that wildfire danger. Just look at what happened in Waldo Canyon this summer.” Reisenburg organized his project with Project continues on Page 6 Signs of a natural gas release Unexplained areas of dead vegetation where the surrounding area is green. A meter dial that continues to move after all natural gas appliances and equipment have been shut off. Unexplained sudden increase in gas consumption. Distinct odor similar to the smell of rotten eggs. Blowing, hissing sound or bubbling in a wet or flooded area. What to do if you smell natural gas Don’t look for the source of the leak — get out immediately. Leave the door open when you exit. Call Black Hills Energy or 911 from outside, using a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone. Don’t touch switches for lights or other electric appliances and don’t use a phone inside the building. Remember that any spark can ignite an explosion. Remain outside the building until emergency personnel arrive. If you become aware of a gas leak, call the Black Hills Energy 24-hour emergency line immediately at 800694-8989. Source: Black Hills Energy

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