Fire claims Durango Hills house

Fire destroyed a home in the Durango Hills subdivision Tuesday afternoon. A family member saw flames on the porch. An effort to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher was unsuccessful. When firefighters from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority arrived, the house was fully engulfed. Enlarge photo

Josh Stephenson/Durango Herald

Fire destroyed a home in the Durango Hills subdivision Tuesday afternoon. A family member saw flames on the porch. An effort to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher was unsuccessful. When firefighters from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority arrived, the house was fully engulfed.

Fire destroyed a house Tuesday in the Durango Hills subdivision northeast of Durango.

The fire was reported at 4:18 p.m. in the 300 block of Sortais Drive, near Florida Road (County Road) 240 and County Road 234.

Renter Anton Stadt, his wife and a friend were home when one of them looked out the living-room window to see large flames on the front porch, said Fire Marshal Karola Hanks, with Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

“Mr. Stadt tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, was unable to, and they were very lucky to get out of the building,” Hanks said. “He literally had to run for his life.”

Firefighters arrived to find the house fully engulfed in flames, she said.

They were initially concerned about a wildfire, because the house fire spread to large trees and was torching, she said.

“The house sits right next to a large draw,” Hanks said. “We were worried the fire would get into that draw and run straight up the hill.”

An estimated 40 firefighters were on scene from DFRA and Upper Pine Fire Protection District. Multiple 911 calls were made during the course of the fire, and DFRA issued a complete call back of off-duty personnel to make sure all fire stations were manned.

“We had two engines and a lot of tankers,” Hanks said. “I don’t know exactly how many because they were running rotations, and I never had a chance to count them.”

Firefighters pulled 16,000 gallons of water from the Edgemont subdivision’s water system to fight the fire.

“They were wonderful to work with,” Hanks said. “They said take it and put that fire out.”

The house is owned by William Harris from Texas. Hanks did not know if he had been notified about the fire.

“The house is a complete loss,” Hanks said. “We have contained the fire in the trees and the growth around.”

The Stadts have renters’ insurance, and their insurance company was arranging lodging for the night. The Red Cross was on scene with a care package.

“They lost absolutely everything they have,” Hanks said. “They didn’t pick up a purse, a wallet, a set of keys or their cellphones. Somebody told me the cat did get out.”

Hanks said both of the couple’s vehicles will be drivable, although parts of a Jeep melted. She got the VIN numbers of the vehicles, so the Stadts can have keys made.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. She said there are some leads, but nothing is definitive about the cause of the fire, which started on the deck outside the front of the house.

shane@durangoherald.com

An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect location of the house fire in a headline. Also, Karola Hank’s full title was not given.

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