Neighbors grab hoses to protect houses as a fire breaks out in Hayden backyard
Kyle Cheetham was enjoying Sunday afternoon at his Hayden home when his wife came rushing in saying there was a fire just behind their house on South Harvest Drive. Cheetham started knocking on all of his neighbor’s doors.
“We didn’t know if it was going to set the building on fire,” Cheetham said
At the same time, Rich Harper was pulling up to his house on his motorcycle and saw flames in a clearing surrounded by houses, including his own. He quickly called 911.
Cheetham strung multiple hoses together so he could reach the fire, with his neighbor Mike Schott coming out of his house to help connect more hoses to extend their range. Another neighbor on the north side of the fire started spraying it from over the fence.
“They were as tall as me at one point,” Cheetham said of the flames. “The wind changed and then it jumped like 6 feet.”
The fire was in a clearing behind houses on Harvest Drive and South Harvest Drive and was moving quickly east, with homes not more than 50 yards away.
“It sure is weird looking out your back door, and oh yea, that is a fire,” Schoot said.
Crews from the West Routt Fire Protection District were on scene within a few minutes, as the firehouse is just down the street.
“Thankfully we are not far away,” said Megan Zech, incident commander on scene for West Routt Fire. “It was moving pretty quick; the wind was blowing pretty strongly, strong gusts. We had some people with house hoses out trying to put water on it, dumping buckets of water on it.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it moved from west to east in the clearing and was very close to threatening the surrounding houses.
“It was sort of a community effort; we had people tending hose and moving them around,” Schott said. “(Cheetham) is the one who alerted all the neighbors and got the hoses out. He is the hero of the day if there is one.”
Fire danger is considered extreme in Northwest Colorado right now, and the National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a red flag warning for Sunday because humidity was low, and winds were gusting up to 30 miles per hour.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Mike Schott’s name.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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