Fire destroys home on Elk Lane near Steamboat Springs early Saturday |

Fire destroys home on Elk Lane near Steamboat Springs early Saturday

Pilot & Today staff report

Smoke billows from the charred remains of a home on Elk Lane in Steamboat Springs on Saturday morning.

— A resident was able to escape from a fire that destroyed his home just south of Steamboat Springs early Saturday.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters were called to the fire at 30835 Elk Lane at 4:32 a.m.

Capt. Chuck Cerasoli said the resident reported the fire.

"He was out by the time we got there," Cerasoli said. "He reported the fire initially was in the chimney or the fireplace."

No one else was in the home at the time of the fire.

Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch identified the resident as James Butts, 33. He said Butts' parents, who live out of state, own the home.

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Birch said Butts awoke and noticed smoke coming from the area of the fireplace. He tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher and then called for help.

When firefighters arrived, Cerasoli said the home was engulfed in flames.

"Our initial strategy was defensive right from the start," Cerasoli said.

Firefighters used two tenders and shuttled about 10,000 gallons of water from a nearby subdivision to keep the fire from spreading into the surrounding trees.

About a dozen firefighters fought the blaze, including five who were off duty.

Firefighters left the scene at about 8 a.m. but returned at about 10 a.m. because flames were seen coming from the rubble.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"It appears to be an accidental fire," Birch said.

Smoke from the fire resulted in a haze near the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Elk Lane is off Routt County Road 14 just south of the Dakota Ridge subdivision. Elk Lane provides access to the homes on Country Green and is directly across C.R. 14 from the main parking area for the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area.

According to property records, the nearly 3,000-square-feet, five-bedroom home was built in 1971. It was listed for sale in 2011 for $799,000, and before the fire Saturday, it was listed for $650,000.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email