A woman died Friday morning after a fire gutted her home south of Cortez on Thursday night.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said the fire call came in at 11:11 p.m. The house, in the 7000 block of County Road 25, was fully engulfed in flames when Cortez Fire Protection District crews and a deputy arrived.
Both residents of the home had gotten out, but Penny Livingston, 68, went back inside the home to retrieve a cat and dog.
Nowlin said firefighters found Livingston and pulled her out of the home. She was treated by EMS and transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital. Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers said Livingston was flown to UCHealth Burn Clinic in Denver, where she was pronounced dead on Friday morning.
Nowlin on Friday afternoon said the fire was accidental, and he had no information on the cause of the fire.
Livingston lived at the home with her companion of 28 years, Ron Rosenbaugh. On Friday, Rosenbaugh began the grim work of sifting through the remains of the burned out home with friends and family.
“It’s gutted,” Rosenbaugh said. “It’s totaled.”
He said both that he and Livingston exited the home. She was talking to a dispatcher over the phone and then ran back inside the burning structure, he said.
“It just engulfed her immediately,” Rosenbaugh said.
He said Livingston had a daughter, a son and a lot of friends. The dog survived.
Rosenbaugh’s brothers, Jim and Charlie, wore gloves as they searched piles of wet ash and scorched wood for personal items. Charlie Rosenbaugh said Livingston’s death is a big loss for the family.
“She’d do anything for anybody,” Charlie Rosenbaugh said.