Construction site catches on fire |

Construction site catches on fire

A 19-year-old man helped put out a fire that started inside an enclosed construction site next to Wal-Mart on Tuesday evening.

Steamboat Springs Fire Inspector Doug Shaffer said a construction heater had been placed inside the site of the South Retail project next to Wal-Mart. The workers had used scaffolding to put plastic over an area of stucco walls to keep the stucco from freezing.

A 100-pound propane tank was fueling the heater and caught on fire. The stucco walls also caught on fire, Shaffer said.

At about 5:38 p.m. Tuesday, Jesse Junker, 19, of Stagecoach saw the fire while riding in a truck on U.S. Highway 40. Junker was with his boss, Tom Williams, who called 911 shortly after spotting the flames.

When they arrived on scene, Junker said flames were coming out of the wall. Despite the dangers, Junker reached through the plastic and tried to turn the propane tank off.

When he could not turn off the knob, he grabbed the tank and pulled it outside. He dragged the tank for about 20 feet.

As Junker was pulling the tank out, other people standing nearby started dousing the walls with five-gallon buckets of water.

“I really didn’t even think about (the danger),” Junker said. “I was just saying, ‘Please don’t let this thing blow up on me.'”

It took the Steamboat Springs Fire Department about two minutes to arrive on scene, Shaffer said, by which time the fire was out. The fire department was able to shut down the propane tank.

Shaffer said minor damage was done to a small part of the wall –stucco was melted, and some wood burned.

Junker was unharmed.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail

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