Durango, CO - 2123 West 3rd Avenue
June 14th, 2017 at 0148 hours
For the second time this week, Durango firefighters faced another well-developed structure fire. The fire occurred in the middle-of-the-row apartment of a townhouse located at 2123 West 3rd Avenue. Units were dispatched at 0148 hours on June 14th, 2017 and arrived to find fire extending across the front of the structure. As Engine Two arrived and established command, they reported that they were initiating a defensive fire attack on the Alpha (front) side of dwelling. As firefighters were mounting the attack in the front of the building, units were advised of a victim at the rear of the apartments.
As Acting Battalion Chief Steve List assumed command, he advised that crews remained in a defense attack mode at the fire apartment, and were going offensive in the exposure apartments to check for extension and conduct searches. He also struck a 2nd Alarm for additional resources to respond to the scene. Medic Three, which had gone to the rear of the townhomes to check a victim, reported heavy smoke on the Charlie side and the possibility of people trapped. The structure was built into a hillside, which caused firefighters to have to access the rear of the building via a road behind the building.
As the IC was continuing to assign units, Medic Three reported that they now had three patients with burns and smoke inhalation. A mother and two children were ultimately transported to Mercy Medical Center. The Alpha side fire attack resulted in the bulk of the fire being knocked down. The IC split the incident into two divisions, Alpha and Charlie. Alpha was under the supervision of Battalion Chief Jeff Harris and Charlie division was headed up by Captain Koby Westerholm.
While primary searches were carried out in the exposure apartments, fire and structure conditions delayed a search of the main fire dwelling. As units were eventually able to enter these areas, a fatality was discovered in the fire apartment. Durango Fire personnel worked into the daylight hours overhauling and assisting with the origin and cause investigation.