AP NEWS

Crews quickly douse Skyline house blaze

May 8, 2019

Officials are still investigating what caused a fire that caused “devastating” smoke and water damage to a guest house in the Skyline subdivision.

People working on the house reported the fire Tuesday morning after noticing smoke, followed by a “rapid response” from Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, Battalion Chief Matt Redwine said. No one was inside.

“We were putting water on that fire within 10 minutes of being paged out,” Redwine said.

When 28 firefighters from four stations responded they found a “basketball-sized hole” burning through the front of the house and smoke burning through the roof, Redwine said.

“It appeared this had been going on for quite a while on the inside before it breached the exterior wall,” Redwine said. “Once it breaches that way and starts getting air from the outside, things can change pretty dramatically. The timing of us getting the call and a very nice fast response was critical in getting it stopped where we did.”

The main fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, Redwine said, but firefighters spent another three hours or so “chasing down burning embers” in the structure and the roof.

The owners of the home at 300 N. West Ridge Road weren’t there, but a caretaker was trying to contact them, Redwine said. The ceiling of the first floor and the floor of the second floor were the hardest hit, he said, although most of the structural components of the home are “fairly unaffected.”

While much of the furniture had already been moved to the garage and was undamaged, “the smoke and water damage to the upstairs is devastating to the point where it’ll have to undergo major renovations,” Redwine said.

“I would guess they’ll pretty much gut the place to get rid of the smoke and water damage,” he said.

Fire Marshal Kathy Clay said the fire presents a “very difficult investigation.”

“I can say I feel confident it was an accidental fire, but I don’t have a source yet,” Clay said.

Redwine said he was proud of the speedy Fire/EMS response and that there were no injuries and no damage to fire equipment. He also thanked the “rehab bus,” a rehabilitated bus that arrived to provide firefighters with food, water and shelter from the rain.

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