County insured, set for winter after shop fire

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— It doesn't appear the County Shop fire on Saturday will financially affect Moffat County.

County Technical Services insures everything found damaged to this point, said Ute Murray, county risk manager.

Murray was unsure when the insurance company would have the final assessments on damages completed.

Craig Fire/Rescue believes the shop caught fire when an industrial coffee pot failed.

The only total losses were the county's traffic sign inventory and grass seed stock, and damage to vehicles and heavy equipment does not appear major at this point, Road and Bridge officials said.

From the outlook during the fire, the building was close to suffering more severe damage when firefighters gained control, officials added.

"We've just never had something, a loss, this big," Murray said. "Usually, it's just one vehicle, and they (County Technical) are quick about those."

As of Thursday morning, County Technical projected Moffat County would pay a one-time $500 deductible.

The insurance company plans to look at the fire as one claim, so the different vehicles and contents of the building are being treated together, hence the single deductible fee, Murray said.

The traffic sign inventory is probably the biggest loss, she added, and that is covered under the building's contents.

A possible x-factor could be the personal belongings of county employees, Murray said.

There were lockers at the shop, but there wasn't much fire damage inside them, said Bill Mack, county Road and Bridge Department director.

However, a landfill employee parked his pickup near a window where the fire broke through. The heat there did cause "significant" damage to that truck, Mack said.

He was unsure whether the county's insurance would cover that or the person's personal vehicle insurance.

Murray appreciated County Technical's effort to get Road and Bridge vehicles operating in time for the snow, she said.

"We told the appraiser we needed strobe lights to use the snowplows," Murray said. "He said to just go out and take care of that, they would cover it."

Although the county lost its "Road Closed" signs, it still has barricades, and the city of Craig and CDOT have offered to lend signs if they're needed.

The only inconvenience is not having a place to store vehicles overnight and plug in their engine warmers, Mack said.

The engines on snowplows and road graders can freeze, but Mack's department has worked out a temporary fix, putting vehicles at Pest Management and the Moffat County Fairgrounds, among others, he said.

The county will be able to handle road concerns going forward, Mack said.

"Road and Bridge is in business," he said, "and we're ready to take care of the roads."

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