Timberglen apartment a total loss

Tenants seek help after Wednesday fire

Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Chris Nichols estimates Timberglen Apartments has more than $100,000 in damage after Wednesday's fire.

The apartment rented by Josh Spanicek, Lishelle Olson and her boyfriend, Dustin Penrose, is a total loss.

"The fire extended from the balcony, where it started, and pretty much demolished the entire apartment," Nichols said.

There is significant damage to the attic space and the roof, which was just completed Tuesday.

Neighboring apartments are salvageable, but the apartment immediately to the west has extensive damage and the apartment below has some exterior fire damage and interior water damage.

"The bulk of the fire was very rapidly extinguished due to an aggressive interior attack," Nichols said.

Firefighters responded to the call at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and cleared the scene by midnight. Firefighter Byron Willems was transported to The Memorial Hospital for extreme fatigue and was released after observation.

The department's investigation showed the cause of the fire was an unintentional barbecuing accident, not arson. Penrose said lighter fluid leaked onto the balcony and ignited when he lit the grill. No one was injured.

Timberglen Manager Renata Beason said she was thankful the department contained the fire to a small area, and Nichols was pleased as well.

"I just want to commend firefighters for doing an outstanding job and saving the bulk of the building," he said.

Some of the tenants in the 12 occupied apartments in Building A have terminated their leases while others plan to move into other apartments within the complex.

An inspector visited the site Thursday afternoon to determine whether residents could return to some of the minimally damaged apartments. The building was without electricity Thursday.

Beason says she is overwhelmed by the incident and is focused on getting the complex running smoothly again.

"I have permission to do whatever's necessary," she said.

Owners of Asset Management Services in Gillette, Wyo., who bought Timberglen in October 2004, are expected to visit next week. In the meantime, Beason is getting estimates from companies on the repairs. The management firm has insurance, but many of the renters did not.

The American Red Cross and Advocates-Crisis Support Services' Moffat County Victim's Assistance Program responded to the scene Wednesday to provide emergency food, clothing shelter and counseling, if necessary.

Rena Olsen, local Red Cross volunteer, knows of eight families that require assistance, including finding new places to live. Six families stayed at a local hotel Wednesday, funded by the not-for-profit organizations. Others stayed with family members and friends in the area.

"Every family has different needs," said Ken Williams, chief executive officer of the Red Cross Centennial Chapter. "If they are completely burned out, if they lost everything, the need is huge."

Corrie Scott, executive director of Moffat County United Way, said those needing assistance or wanting to help out should call 211, a phone number that refers community members to the appropriate contact.

"Then it's just one phone call and makes it work for everyone," Scott said.

Those wanting to help also can call Olsen at 824-4853 or the local Red Cross office at 824-2661.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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