A house was destroyed by fire Tuesday in Silverton, but the cause of the blaze remains undetermined.
The town of Silverton issued a notice that said the fire occurred at 1405 East 14th St., which is along the banks of the west side of the Animas River, adjacent to the bridge that crosses the river near Kendall Mountain Recreation Area.
“The town has offered support to the property owner,” town officials said in a statement. “The town and property owners will be investigating the cause of the fire.”
Lisa Branner, spokeswoman for the town, said she was not able to comment further about the incident.
Silverton-San Juan Fire and Rescue Authority Chief Gilbert Archuleta said there is speculation a welder contracted by the town of Silverton was in the vicinity to unfreeze a water line pipe and accidentally started the fire, but that remains unconfirmed.
“I hear they were trying to get that thawed,” he said. “But as far as saying what caused the fire, we’re not sure. It’s in the hands of the insurance companies now.”
Archuleta said the call for the fire came around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Two fire engines and more than 20 personnel battled the blaze, using an estimated 20,000 gallons of water to douse it.
The fire was put out about 40 minutes after it broke out, Archuleta said, but still, the home was destroyed.
“It’s a bad deal,” he said. “The house is a total loss.”
No one was in the home at the time of the fire and no one was injured fighting the blaze, Archuleta said.
Tom Harms, owner of the property, said he got the call Tuesday afternoon that his house was on fire.
Harms, who lives in Durango, said the property is a vacation rental, and was not currently being rented.
“Thank goodness no one was hurt,” he said.
Harms said he immediately went to Silverton after hearing the news.
“There wasn’t a single thing inside I felt I could retrieve,” he said. “I didn’t even feel comfortable walking inside. It’s pretty much charred and done.”
Harms said he purchased the property about five years ago, but the home has been in his circle of friends since around 1998. Many times, he said, the house was used to shelter search and rescue teams.
“There were a lot of memories there,” he said. “It was an absolute beautiful place at a beautiful location.”
Harms said he, too, is working to get a better understanding of what caused the fire. He said he’s going through the insurance process and declined to say what may have caused the blaze until he learns more.
“I would like to know what’s going on, too,” he said. “No one is hiding anything, but we’re just going through the process.”
It is at least the second home fire within a year in Silverton. In April, fire destroyed a home on County Road 110, displacing its owner amid the coronavirus pandemic.