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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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Firefighters save home after blaze breaks out in Indian Hills By Barbara Ford Staff Writer

Quick-acting firefighters extinguished a fire, saved a house and earned the thanks of a grateful Indian Hills homeowner on May 9. A fast-moving fire at a house at U.S. 285 and Parmalee Gulch was halted by firefighters from the Indian Hills and Inter-Canyon fire departments. The blaze was contained by 5:30 p.m. Homeowner Jon Akers said the firefighters who responded were fantastic, and he’s grateful for their help. “Our volunteer firefighters are worth their weight in gold,” Akers said. Akers called in the fire near U.S. 285 and Parmalee Gulch Road about 4:15 p.m. May 9, and Indian Hills Fire/Rescue and InterCanyon Fire/Rescue responded. The cause of the fire, which was contained about 5:30 p.m., is still under investigation. No serious injuries were reported, although one person was treated for smoke inhalation. Flames came within a couple feet of the house and outbuildings at 5570 Parmalee Gulch Road. Indian Hills Fire Chief Don Schoenbein said single-digit humidity and windy conditions helped get the fire started. “Good thing the winds died down,” Schoenbein said. “Everything is so dry.” Akers said his son was on the back porch and tried to put out the flames with his bare feet. “We used whatever we could find, fire extinguishers and shovels,” Akers said. Akers said he used his bare hands to throw dirt on the fire, but the winds shifted and he believes that helped keep the flames from spreading. Akers said that just as firefighters arrived, a tree exploded

“People need to call early and call often. We’d rather have resources and respond to a fire than to not have them when we need them.”

—Indian Hills fire chief Don Schoenbein

in flames and he said, “We’ve had it.” Akers said his family has lived in the stone and wood house in the narrow canyon for 21 years. “This time, the wind was on our side,” he said. The fire crept up a steep, rocky hill, and as it came near the top, the wind blew the fire back onto itself, Schoenbein said. Cable and phone lines were down as a result of the blaze, although the house never lost power. Schoenbein said part of the reason the fire was quickly contained was because the residents didn’t try to fight the flames by themselves but called seconds after the fire started. “People need to call early and call often,” Schoenbein said. “We’d rather have resources and respond to a fire than to not have them when we need them.” Schoenbein said that, in small departments like Indian Hills and Inter-Canyon, volunteers are trained to recognize when additional resources should be called in, and they don’t hesitate to do so. Contact Barbara Ford at barbara@evergreenco.com or 303350-1043. Check www.High TimberTimes.com for updates.

“Our volunteer firefighters are worth their weight in gold.”

—homeowner Jon Akers

Photo by Barbara Ford | The Times

Indian Hills and Inter-Canyon firefighters extinguished a fire near a home just north of U.S. 285 and Parmalee Gulch Road on May 9. Composite

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The fast-moving fire at the house on U.S. 285 and Parmalee Gulch on May 9 was halted by firefighters in just over an hour. Firefighters are trained to recognize when additional resources should be called in.

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Photo by Barbara Ford | The Times

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