Fire destroys Steamboat Springs home

Matt Stensland

— No one was seriously injured in a fire that destroyed a Steamboat Springs home Thursday.

When the fire broke out at 3394 Après Ski Way, Paul Fourtner and his wife Carzel were upstairs. Paul Fourtner told police he was asleep when the fire started.

According to Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Stuart Hutton, Paul Fourtner said his wife has some cognitive mental issues, and she set something on fire.

“He’s not 100 percent sure what it was,” Hutton said.

Paul Fourtner told police when he woke up, the couch was on fire.

“He got her out immediately,” Hutton said.

Water cascades down the steps at the Après Ski Way home.Matt Stensland

Chris O’Konski rents out the lower level apartment and was coming out of the shower when he learned something was wrong.

“I got out and heard a bunch of stomping around upstairs,” O’Konski said. “I heard Paul yelling, ‘Get out, there’s a fire.’”

O’Konski had time to get dressed and grab his cell phone and wallet. In a panic, he did not know what other belongings to get.

“I didn’t know what, so I just turned around and left,” said O’Konski, who also helped get pets out of the house.

“The windows were busting out as I ran out the door,” O’Konski said. “It was pretty intense.”

Carzel Fourtner was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center with minor injuries to a foot.

One firefighter had a minor ankle sprain, and another was taken to YVMC as a precautionary measure.

Neighbors were offering help to the displaced residents.

The Fourtners are longtime Steamboat residents, who Hutton said have owned the home since 1985. O’Konski has lived in Steamboat since 1996.

O’Konski hoped to salvage his belongings from the lower level apartment. According to police, it did not look like that level had been damaged by the fire, but there was likely water damage.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Chuck Cerasoli said when firefighters arrived, the home was completely engulfed. No firefighters were sent into the burning home because all the occupants got out safely.

The home was built with a lot of wood, including dry, heavy timber, which Cerasoli said burns hot and for awhile.

“That was part of the difficulty in extinguishing it,” Cerasoli said.

Cerasoli said West Routt Fire Protection District firefighters came to help, and the fire “flashed” once.

“At some point the heat gets so hot that basically everything ignites,” Cerasoli said. “These situations are what kills firefighters.”

The three-bedroom, two-story home had a loft area and was built in 1969.

“Certainly the upstairs is a complete loss,” Cerasoli said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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