by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- The home of Shane and Audra Rorick in La Veta was damaged by fire just before sunrise on January 24. According to La Veta FPD Chief David DeTray, smoke detectors saved the lives of Mrs. Rorick and the three children, who were home at the time the blaze was discovered.
The kitchen and family/great room were extensively damaged, with smoke damage throughout the house. Chief DeTray investigated the blaze and found that the fireplace flue, installed in 1985, was too close to combustible materials. DeTray said the Roricks were unaware of the danger and had used the fireplace more regularly than anyone else since the house had been built. An insurance investigator/adjuster has concurred with DeTray’s findings.
DeTray thanked the ten La Veta firefighters who responded to the fire, as well as the personnel with two tender tankers from the Huerfano County Fire Department in Walsenburg. “There’s only so much our small districts can do by ourselves.”
DeTray reminded homeowners, “Be sure to change batteries and keep your fire detectors working.”
On Sunday after lunch, the La Veta FPD was called to an irrigation ditch fire in the 800 block of Garland in La Veta. According to DeTray, the fire started when someone dumped fireplace ashes into the ditch. The fire burned an area fifteen feet wide by 300 feet long and was contained within ten minutes after the fire department arrived on scene.