House fire closes East Animas Road

One lane opened at 10:30 p.m.

Durango Fire & Rescue Authority firefighters battle a blaze at a newly remodeled home of John Willibrand on East Animas Road (County Road 250). Alan Doerhoff, right, a lifelong friend of Willibrand, said they planned to meet at the home to watch the vice-presidential debates, but after he started a small fire, neighbors reported a flue fire Thursday evening. Enlarge photo

JOSH STEPHENSON/Durango Herald

Durango Fire & Rescue Authority firefighters battle a blaze at a newly remodeled home of John Willibrand on East Animas Road (County Road 250). Alan Doerhoff, right, a lifelong friend of Willibrand, said they planned to meet at the home to watch the vice-presidential debates, but after he started a small fire, neighbors reported a flue fire Thursday evening.

A home fire Thursday evening on East Animas Road (County Road 250) caused extensive damage and closed the road for several hours, but no one was injured.

The house, at 6856 East Animas Road, belongs to John Willibrand through Willibrand Properties LLC. He is a part-time resident.

“Guests, not the homeowner, were home,” Durango Fire & Rescue Authority Fire Marshal Karola Hanks said. “They started the stove and had gone in to cook a hamburger and get ready to watch the (vice-presidential) debate. Then a neighbor came pounding on the door to tell them the roof was on fire.”

While it is still under investigation, Hanks said it appears the fire started in the stove case, the pipe that vents smoke through the roof. The fire spread between the ceiling and the roof on the second floor and spread across the rooms on the floor.

Three tankers, an engine, ladder truck and ambulance along with 25 firefighters and command staff were on scene. Hanks said they were paged about 6:45 p.m., and the road was closed for safety reasons shortly after 7 p.m.

One lane opened at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, and she believed DFRA would release the scene and open the road by 11:30 p.m. The reopening will be announced on DFRA’s Twitter feed.

Willibrand was en route from Missouri, where he lives part of the year.

Hanks wanted to remind people to get their flues cleaned.

“Anything you’re going to put a fuel in, whether it’s a wood stove or a pellet stove or whatever, should be cleaned on a regular basis,” she said. “You want to make sure there’s no creosote buildup, no bird nests and the vents are working properly. And make sure you have a screen on top of the chimney to catch sparks so your roof doesn’t catch on fire.”

This time of year is a good time to do it, she said.

abutler@durangoherald.com

“It’s fall and getting colder, when people are just starting to use this equipment,” Hanks said. “People tend to procrastinate on getting their flues cleaned and say they’re going to do it next week. Next week is here.”

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