Fire destroys home in Baggs
Enriques family draws support from community
Paula Enriques knew something was wrong Wednesday morning when her 5-year-old son, Paco, came into the bathroom where she was taking a shower. Hearing a big bang, Paula wrapped herself in a towel and ran outside with her son after she noticed the back wall of the house, 115 N. Major St., that she was renting in Baggs, Wyo., was engulfed in flames.
“It’s scary, it happened so quick,” said Enriques’ aunt, Rachael Flores of Craig. “I couldn’t believe it burned so fast.”
Flames and heavy smoke were rising from the house when Baggs police took the call at about 11:40 a.m. Paula and Paco were taken by Baggs volunteer ambulance service to The Memorial Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. They were soon released. Paula’s daughter Suzanna, 6, saw her house burn from the school that she was attending nearby, Flores said.
The home and all of its contents are a total loss, said Mark Lapinskas, Baggs’ police chief. Initial information indicates the fire originated in a woodstove in the home, though the fireplace wasn’t the home’s main heating source, Lapinskas said.
The owner of the trailer is Marilyn Camp of Craig, he said.
“The kids had just put the Christmas tree up and they were worried about that,” Flores said. “You know how kids are.”
Flores was overwhelmed by the amount of support that strangers offered her niece after an interview Thursday morning on KRAI-FM.
Calls started pouring in offering Flores’ family assistance including food, clothing, furniture and cash after her phone number was announced over the air.
Enriques did not have a telephone.
Flores said her niece and two children might try to move into an apartment in Craig. Flores is considering opening up a bank account so people can donate money to help family members rebuild their lives until Enriques can find a job.
“She’s taking it hard,” Flores said. “They feel like they lost part of their family. First of all, they need prayers.”
KRAI disc jockey Joshua Fleming said it was awkward asking the community to help the family a day after the station wrapped up its annual Holiday Drive, gathering more than $20,000 in donations and gifts for local charities.
But apparently, giving more to a family in need wasn’t a concern for some community members.
“It felt weird to ask for more, but it wasn’t even an issue,” Fleming said.
Fleming said he requested assistance for the family from the Carbon County United Way and the American Red Cross.
Flores said she’d received 10 calls offering assistance by mid-morning Thursday.
Sometimes the calls overlapped — one beeping in while she was already on the line.
Lapinskas said the town’s volunteer fire crews responded quickly to the blaze, keeping damage to surrounding structures at a minimum.
Fast work by two Baggs residents, Rick Beck and Bobby Dunn, kept the fire from spreading to a nearby truck and a large piece of machinery.
The residents jumped in vehicles and moved them out of the fire’s path.
“I think it was just a combination of concerned citizens looking out for each other,” Lapinskas said.
He noted that Baggs didn’t have as many resources to help the family compared with Craig.
“Being Christmas and all, we’re trying to get the word out,” he said. “It was kind of a tragic thing to happen to lose all your belongings and your house.”
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.
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