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Update: South Maple fire in Cortez remains under investigation

Furniture and a guitar salvaged from a room that caught fire Sunday, May 21, at 240 S. Maple St. in Cortez. (Courtesy photo)
‘I’m not sure we can find a definitive cause,’ says chief

The cause of Sunday’s fire on South Maple and Third Streets remains under investigation, according to Battalion Chief Rick Spencer of the Cortez Fire Protection District.

“I’m not sure we can find a definitive cause,” Spencer told The Journal.

According to the incident report from the Cortez Police Department, an officer found what appeared to be a butane tank and copper wire near the area of the fire. However, the resident of the home on Sunday told a Journal reporter that he believed a coffee pot might have caused the blaze.

Fire and police officials stand in the doorway of the home at 240 S. Maple St. on Sunday, May 21. (The Journal)

According to the police report, the residents of the home are Chad Damron and Craig Black. Damron was the only one home at the time of the fire. He was seen “limping out of the house” and was later taken to the hospital for injuries to his leg and possibly his feet, the police report stated.

The owner of the house, Leila Hanson, was worried for Damron and reported that he also had a dog, said police officer Joseph Yen. No dog was found at the residence, Yen reported.

Seventeen responders from fire departments in Lewis-Arriola, Dolores, Mancos and Cortez attended the call Sunday about 2:38 p.m., according to Spencer.

Spencer reiterated that the blaze was “kept to the room where it started,” and while there was smoke damage to the entire house, “the structure was not a loss,” he said.

“It was a good job on everyone’s part,” he said.

The residents will be able to reoccupy the house once it has been cleaned.

Spencer reported that the Cortez Fire Protection District has been increasingly busy over the past five years.

“Last year, we ran just over 3,400 calls,” he said.