Apartment Fires in Rifle

Rifle—At least nine Rifle residents managed to escape a fire this morning that gutted a few second-story apartments of an older building across from the fairgrounds on Railroad Avenue.  Colorado River Fire Rescue Interim Chief Randy Callahan says the first call went out at 9:14 am. He says they could see the billowing smoke as pulled out of the station.  A call for assistance from other departments was sent out about 10 minutes later.  Crews from Grand River responded to the scene while the Glenwood Springs Fire Department supervised the New Castle station. One person sustained minor injuries that were treated at the scene. One of the displaced residents is Cindy Brown.  She lived in the building behind Piper Auto Sales and Carquest Auto Parts with her son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.  She says she woke up with the end of her bed on fire. As the flames rapidly spread, Brown says she screamed to alert her son who was just getting out of the shower.  “He still ran and tried to put the fire out, we were trying to get water and everything to it but we couldn’t get the fire extinguisher to work.”  Brown says she then started running down the hall and beating on doors to get everyone out of the building.  Chief Callahan says the nearly 80-year-old building presented some dangerous challenges for firefighters when they made their way to the second floor.  He says having residences above an auto parts store with lots of flammable materials made it a multi-hazard area.  Brown and her four-year-old granddaughter made it out safely with the clothes they had on…their pajamas. Meanwhile, the American Red Cross was called in to help the displaced residents with temporary shelter, clothing and food.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. A special account has been set up at Bank of Colorado under the name, “Brown Family Fund.” Monetary donations are being accepted at any Bank of Colorado branch as well as donations of new clothing and toys.