Fire destroyed three apartments and displaced seven people early Wednesday at Vallecito Reservoir.
The blaze was reported at 12:06 a.m. at 14518 County Road 501 near the southern end of the reservoir, said Rich Graeber, chief of the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District.
The first firefighters arrived within about five minutes, but the triplex was already fully engulfed in flames, Graeber said.
Residents were awakened by the fire and self-evacuated, he said. They had time to save themselves and their pets, and that’s about it, he said.
“They were literally awakened by the one occupant yelling fire and glass breaking,” Graeber said. “It was one of those very close calls.”
The local chapter of the American Red Cross was providing assistance to the seven residents.
The cause remained undetermined Wednesday, Graeber said, but it appears to have been an accident involving cooking equipment or smoking paraphernalia.
It took an hour to control the fire and four hours to douse, he said.
The fire spread to a nearby home, but firefighters were able to save the home, he said.
“Access was an issue for us,” he said. “The (triplex) is built on the side of the hill, and there was a steep road going down in there.”
In addition to Upper Pine, other agencies that responded included the Los Pinos Fire Protection District and Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.
Firefighters responded with three engines and six water tenders.
No firefighters were injured, but one resident was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center to be treated for stress-related problems, Graeber said.