Craig Fire/Rescue workers combat a blaze Wednesday at the Craig Motel at 894 Yampa Ave.  The origin of the fire and the extent of the damage is not yet known.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Craig Fire/Rescue workers combat a blaze Wednesday at the Craig Motel at 894 Yampa Ave. The origin of the fire and the extent of the damage is not yet known.

Fire at Craig Motel

Firefighters battled blaze on Yampa Avenue


Smoke and flames poured out of the windows of Room 11 on Wednesday morning at the Craig Motel, just as Craig Fire/Rescue arrived on the scene.

Fire Chief Bill Johnston described his first look at the scene with two words: "Flame on."

Firefighters spent almost four hours from the time they got there at 11:36 a.m. containing the fire, which eventually was extinguished about 3 p.m.

There were no reported injuries during the incident, which department officials determined was caused by a faulty wall-mounted heater.

The firefighters' initial focus was on Room 11, which seemed to be the center of the fire.

Using chainsaws, the crew cut into the roof, releasing plumes of smoke.

Firefighters hoped to stop the fire from spreading into the insulation, but by 1 p.m. the roof was smoking.

From there, Johnston said the fire spread latterly from room to room because there were no fire-stops in the ceiling.

Fire stops are required by city code to prevent such damage, but Johnston said the motel was probably built before the code was in place, so they weren't required.

There appeared to be extensive damage to Room 11, as well as the roof of the structure.

The room was being rented, Johnston said, however no one was inside.

The fire caused extensive damage to 16 rooms, from Room 5 on the northernmost side to Room 21 on the south.

Craig Motel does not have a Room 13.

The motel's roof partially collapsed because of the damage.

Craig Fire/Rescue, West Routt Fire Department, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, state and city road and bridge departments and Colorado State Patrol responded to the call.

"We had to call in West Routt Fire Department because of the intensity of the fire," Johnston said, "and because of the size of the fire and jobs that need to get done."

Johnston said extra personnel were needed for safety purposes, as well.

Sections of Yampa Avenue from Eighth Street to Ninth Street were closed as crews battled the blaze.

Craig Middle School was on yellow lockdown during lunch hour because of the fire.

Middle school and Sandrock Elementary School students who walk to school were released early at 3:15 p.m. to bypass the area.

Craig Fire/Rescue left the scene at 5:45 p.m.


taxslave 7 years, 6 months ago

I have a question. Why is there a picture of a demon on the south side, roll down door of the fire department? Go look for yourselves if you haven't noticed it yet.


George Robertson 7 years, 6 months ago

For Halloween it turned into a demon, after October 31st It'll turn back into a hazmat symbol.


taxslave 7 years, 6 months ago

A scull & axes? Scull and crossbones? Just because it's been the norm doesn't mean it's not a demon.

The triangle says plenty too.


Rebelgirl 7 years, 6 months ago

If you would get out and acctually look at the emblem on the south side facing door, it is a skull with a fire fighter helmet and a two crossed axes directly behind the skull. The skull is in front of a hazmat symbol which is on many items containing chemicals. If you drive down industrial ave you will see many containers with the same basic hazmat symbol a triangle with a blue, red,yellow and white box. I am not sure where you get a demon from since that has been the emblem for the moffat county hazmat response team for years. That bay use to house the hazmat truck and trailor before they got the new ladder truck. It now houses one of the engines.


Colette Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Heh taxslave, Salem and the witchhunt are looking for you!


lonelyone 7 years, 6 months ago

Tax, I swear you are getting stranger and stranger!


cag81625 7 years, 6 months ago

I think Dan Brown's next book ought to center around the Moffat County Hazmat team. Yes, I know the secret handshake and, no, I ain't saying what it is.


carn 7 years, 6 months ago

Is this the same symbol that is on the Craig fire website under hazmat? If so, there isn't a triangle. There are four squares standing on their points (diamonds?) inside a larger square, also rotated to stand on a point.

I like nimrod's theory, though.


Rebelgirl 7 years, 6 months ago

Opps yes i meant diamond. And by normal I mean the nationally recognized symbol for hazmat chemicals. If you have a problem with the symbol why don't you bring it up with Chief Johnson since he was the one that came up with the design years ago. If you are just now noticing this emblem you have really got to find something else to nit pick about or atleast be more observant about in the community.


blueyes 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh good grief the story is about the hotel that caught on fire, and the people that were staying there that to some lost there home. All we are talking about the hazmat symbol and how it looks like a demon instead. If you ever had any time to stop and look at it you would have seen what it is. But the real issue is that the hotel caught on fire and we are all lucky that there was no one hurt. Not to mention the fact that Craig Fire Rescue, The Memorial Hospital EMS, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff, The Colorado State Patrol, or West Routt Fire Department. It is all about the people that have lost something and not some symbol. Id you all have to do is stop and think that this could have turned out to worse some one could have been hurt or a greater loss.


Rebelgirl 7 years, 6 months ago

you are correct blueyes it is a great thing that no one was hurt. It is sad that people have lost their homes but it is a reality that heaters are dangerous. From what it sounds like is this was a wall mounted base board heater. I have lived in places with these and know how dirty they can get. I wonder how long it had been since they had them inspected. It is also a bad time of the year for this to happen due to weather and hotels filling up with hunters. Hope everyone can find safe housing and a warm bed to stay in.


Frank Estey 7 years, 6 months ago

"Johnston said the fire spread latterly from room to room because there were no fire-stops in the ceiling. Fire stops are required by city code to prevent such damage, but Johnston said the motel was probably built before the code was in place, so they weren't required."

What sort of lunacy is that?

How can we "Grandfather in" public safety? That motel has electric wiring that was installed almost Seventy years ago, the structure was a death trap ready to claim an unsuspecting life.

We were fortunate this time: We need to pay attention to things like public safety, not where some idiot gets his pot or what demonic symbolism is represented by some stupid triangle.


lonelyone 7 years, 6 months ago

Greystone, if you expect old buildings to have to update things like this so they are within code, many of our businesses would be closed. They can't afford to go in and put that stuff in because codes have change. Do you realize how much that would cost and what kind of work it would take?? If they were doing some kind ot total remodel that would be different, then these fire walls could have been installed. Elk Run Inn did a total remodel a few years ago by a past owner, do you suppose those were put in then? Maybe so because the inside was pretty much gutted for the remodel. But I don't think the Craig Motel, since I've lived here has ever done a remodel like that. It's a shame this happened and I am glad no one was hurt


taxslave 7 years, 6 months ago

I, taxslave, walked to the hotel that evening, viewed the damage and asked if everyone had a place to sleep that night. There was a woman walking around with a pink blanket wrapped around her like she was in shock and I was very concerned for all of them.

So, if I feel like gripping about a demon I'm gonna.

The town if full of demons....keep eye on PD.


Frank Estey 7 years, 6 months ago


At the time we stayed in the Craig motel, we lived in Illinois, traveling from Arizona and were in a rush to get out of town and our bad experience at that dump.

Not to be nit picking but Ike's or the old trailers West of town are not a place where people might seek a place to rest for the night in safety.

Those other places you mention are making an impression on out of town people every time they rent a room for the night and they most likely will just move out as fast as they can and never bother staying around to complain to the city about their misfortune.

My big thing is putting a dollar value on human life for the sake of some skin flint making a buck.


Frank Estey 7 years, 6 months ago


In my opinion it is the responsibility of the code enforcement entity of the city to shut down a business that is detrimental to the life of its citizens or any individual that does business within the City regardless of this Grandfathering crap.

The people doing business in these motels, within the city, depend on a certain amount of oversight by the city to protect their life while sleeping in a bed and not having the building burn down.

There is no way this building has passed a code enforcement check in the last ten years.

If the city determines, like yourself, that a business is more valuable than a human life, then the city may be open to legal action to rectify this assumption.

The last time I stayed at this motel, the floor was not connected to the walls in most places. When my daughter went into the bedroom the floor separated from the floor and her tennis ball rolled out into the alley behind the building, that was ten years ago.

What value do we place on a human life, just to keep a run down dump open for business? If, in fact, a business is unsafe, then shut it down while improving the face and safety of the city. These run down buildings within the city are not helping our city... After all, we are not yet a third world country.


lonelyone 7 years, 6 months ago

Graystone, did you complain to the city? if not your just as much at fault as the people you say should be shuting them down for code violations. Unless the City has some complaints as to the condition of a building and whether it is safe enough for people to enter or stay there, then they have no reason to shut them down. And like it or not buildings are grandfathered in all over the country for all sorts of things. Heck several years ago the county wanted to clean up the entrances to Craig. A few miles west of town a land owner was made to remove all the old trailers he has around his home because it looked so bad and when it came to Ike's they let them slide cuz it would have cost to much to place a fence around the whole darn place and he was "grandfathered" in. I would bet there several other old motels in this town that are also grandfathered in and couldn't afford to do the kind of work your talking about. Should they be shut down because you think they going to pay for them to live because you just took away their way of making a living?? And Tax before you start patting yourself on the back did you offer the poor woman a place to stay? Just going down there and looking at things and being concerned doesn't give you the right to complain about a so called Demon. And so what if it's a demon? Maybe the fire department thinks fire is evil and they've put the "demon" on the door or their trucks to say they are "demon" fighters!!! ever think of that?


als362 7 years, 6 months ago

In every set of code related ordinances, there are grandfather clauses included.

This must be done. If there were no grandfather clauses, people that own property, whether it be business owners or homeowners would never be able to keep up with the constantly changing code laws.

No one would be able to afford it either.

Property owners are required to update thier property to agree with the current code laws when they remodel, or rebuild thier property. This is normal and done all over the country.

If you want the cost of everything to sky rocket completely out of sight, make it a law that requires everyone to keep thier properties up to date with all newest code laws and ordinances.


taxslave 7 years, 6 months ago

Don't know why I posted the way I did....sure sounds yuck the way it came out, sorry 'bout that....wasn't intended to sound like that.

I made sure to find out if anyone was hurt or without a place to sleep.


Frank Estey 7 years, 6 months ago


Just wondering, what might the cost be to this motel business had there been a loss of life regardless how much Grandfathering to bypass safety ordinances.

Will a court find the owner and the city liable for that loss of life regardless of any Grandfathered safety stuff ?

Do the Insurance companies have a clause that considers Grandfathered safety considerations ?


Ray Cartwright 7 years, 6 months ago

It is a wonder any of us survive what with the town being full of demons. I thought that the only ones that could identify a demon was a demon themselves. We need to start carring mirrors and wooden crosses to make sure the person you are talking to isn't a demon or witch.


Frank Estey 6 years, 1 month ago

How are they doing with the remodeling, clean-up, of the old Craig Motel? This is a great thing for visitors to look at when arriving in Craig to spend money or NOT. Why not have the special comities work on cleaning up the house before the visitors get here.


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