A fire caused about $200,000 in damage to a home north of Cortez on Wednesday afternoon, according to Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde.
The fire started just after 1 p.m. in the garage of a home in the 25000 block of Road N.6, Vandevoorde said. The home is in the Mildred Estates subdivision north of Cortez off County Road 26, between Roads N and P. The owners of the home are Charles and Joy Steffen.
Crews got the call at 1:07 p.m. and were on scene within seven minutes, Vandevoorde said.
Two occupants, a man and a woman, were in the house at the time of the fire. The man was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital after feeling ill with shortness of breath, he said. Both got out before crews got there, he said.
“It was a good effort from our guys,” he said. “We saved the house because of the quick response.”
Flames totaled the garage of the home, and two vehicles sustained heavy damage, Vandevoorde said. The side of the house also was damaged, but fire crews were able to stop the fire from spreading into the house, he said. The house is valued at $450,000, he said.
The cause of the fire is suspected to be accidental, Vandevoorde said. The man was working in the garage and was burning nylon rope, according to a report from the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office. He thought the rope was extinguished and set it down, but it was still burning, the report states.
The fire may have caused the tires on the vehicles to explode, Vandevoorde said. Smoke from the fire was visible from the fire station in Cortez, he said.
A total of 26 firefighters were on scene from Cortez, Dolores, Mancos and Lewis-Arriola fire districts, Vandevoorde said. Multiple sheriff’s department vehicles responded, as well as an ambulance from Southwest Memorial Hospital.
Fire crews were on scene from about 1:15 p.m. to about 5 p.m., extinguishing any hot spots, Vandevoorde said. A crew also went back Wednesday night to check on the scene, he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for people who wish to donate to help the couple with expenses related to the fire’s aftermath.