Steamboat Smokehouse fire investigation wraps up: Reopening date for businesses remains uncertain
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An investigation is wrapping up for a fire at the Steamboat Smokehouse in December, but it could be a long time before a cause is determined.
The blaze, which sparked the morning of Dec. 8, 2019, in the second floor of the Smokehouse building on Lincoln Avenue, closed down four businesses. Those include the Steamboat Smokehouse and Ciao Gelato, which operated in the same building, and the adjacent businesses of the Steamboat Shoe Market and the Veterans of Foreign Wars building.
Those four businesses remain closed and exact reopening dates remain uncertain.
Fire Marshall Doug Schaffer with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue said a private, third-party investigator visited the site this week to survey the damage and collect samples. The investigator, representing the insurance company that covers the building, has submitted electrical evidence for testing as a possible cause of the fire, but it could be months before any conclusions are made, Schaffer said.
“I wouldn’t even venture at a timeline,” he said, adding some fire investigations take multiple years before an official cause is determined.
The interior of the Steamboat Smokehouse suffered extensive damage, Schaffer said. Flame damage was restricted to the second-floor office where the blaze originated, but heat and smoke damage spread to the first floor. Repairs on the building could be possible, Schaffer added, but it would take major renovations, including gutting the interior of the structure.
Kyle Love, who owns Steamboat Smokehouse and Ciao Gelato, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
The adjacent businesses also suffered substantial smoke damage, Schaffer said.
What: Smoked Out Sale for shoes affected by smoke damage at Steamboat Shoe Market
When: Scheduled for the month of February, but an exact date has not been announced
Where: 105 West Jefferson Avenue, Hayden
Jim Stanko, a military veteran who helps to manage of the VFW building, said a reopening date for the business and associated bar also are uncertain. He has been working with an insurance company but has not received estimates about the cost of repairs. The company completed asbestos testing this week, Stanko said, but results are pending.
“Until we get those estimates, it is hard for us to proceed,” he said.
The tenant of the bar is working with a separate insurance company to cover damages, which has complicated the process.
“We have to basically coordinate the two insurance companies,” Stanko said.
The Steamboat Shoe Market has not announced an exact reopening date but is hoping to resume operations sometime in March, according to an announcement on the business’ website. The business must undergo “significant restoration due to smoke damage” before it can reopen, the announcement said.
The shoe store is holding a special sale of the items affected by the fire, called the Smoked Out Sale, during the month of February.
“The shoes are the same high quality brands and styles you know from our store, but many have a subtle campfire odor,” according to an online description of the sale.
The sale will take place at a temporary location in Hayden, 105 West Jefferson Ave.
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Sales tax collections in the city of Steamboat Springs during the first five months of 2021 were nearly 20% more than the same period last year, according to a report recently released by the city.