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Destructive Marvel fire likely started by gas grill

Woman treated, released for smoke inhalation

Two cabins were destroyed in a fire Wednesday on County Road 101 near Marvel that also sent a woman to Mercy Regional Medical Center with smoke inhalation, officials said Thursday.

The woman has been released from Mercy, and she told Deputy Fire Marshall Dave Strobel on Thursday that a gas grill on a front porch caught fire, Strobel said.

The woman, who is a tenant on the property, turned off the grill and tried to extinguish the flames, Strobel said. “She attempted to suppress the fire with a garden hose when it first started, but she was unable to do so because the gas was still on.”

The name of the tenant was not released because of the ongoing investigation; the property owner is expected to soon meet with Strobel.

The wind-driven fire also damaged four vehicles, a motorcycle and a boat, said Chris Anderson, chief of Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District. Also, one of the woman’s dogs was unaccounted for, he said.

Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to nearby properties.

“The wind was blowing quite hard last night, so it got into the vegetation and started heading towards the neighbor’s house, but we cut it off,” he said.

The high winds and the type of construction led to difficulties in extinguishing the flames.

“It was heavy timber, and those are always a little tough to get out because of the amount of fuel,” he said.

Michele Rowe, who lives nearby, said she became aware of the fire around 6 p.m.

“My husband came home from work and said it was on fire, and I walked out and could see the flames from my house,” Rowe said.

The Durango Fire Protection District and San Juan County Fire Department assisted, Anderson said.

Durango Fire responded at 7:07 p.m. when a request for an engine and water tanker came from the crews fighting the fire, but soon realized more apparatus and personnel were required, said Scott Sholes, battalion chief for Durango Fire. “Once they got there, they realized there were multiple structures and vehicles were involved.”

In total, four fire engines, four water tankers and two medical units were involved, and the fire was out by 11 p.m., Anderson said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation through the Fire Prevention Bureau of DFPD.

Luke Perkins is a full-time student at Fort Lewis College and an intern at The Durango Herald. He can be reached at lukep@durangoherald.com.

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