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Sam Hall
06-22-2007, 05:27 PM
Fire burns three homes in Mesa

MESA — Winds whipped a brush fire into a roaring inferno in Mesa Thursday evening, quickly torching three homes west of Highway 65, threatening the town and commanding fire support from nearly a dozen authorities.

The fire started along Mesa Creek near the address 11073 Highway 65, and rapidly moved south to north, threatening the town of 500.

“It moved three-quarters of a mile in less than an hour,” said Wayne Castro, who had moved into his home two months ago. “I saw three (houses) go, and another one was catching.” His 12-year-old son, West directed traffic at one point during the chaotic night.

Castro said he believed the fire started in a nearby barn.

As of 11 p.m., Highway 65 sported a line of at least 30 emergency vehicles, lights flashing overhead in a surreal scene accented by a plume of acrid smoke rising above the valley floor.

Retired Postmaster Eldon Crosby lost his home, said Mesa resident Butch Moore. Pat Thompson has lived in Mesa more than three decades. She reported the last big fire, which consumed one house and one trailer, took place in 1977.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said, standing on a hill next to the Plateau Valley Fire Department looking south toward the fire.

Jon Roberts, 25, of 11223 Highway 65, said that while he was driving home, he saw smoke plumes from as far away as DeBeque on Interstate 70.

By the time Roberts arrived at his home in Mesa, the fire was two houses away. He said he threw his belongings in his truck. He made a point to grab the beer from his refrigerator on the way out.

It was 9:30 p.m. and Roberts was sipping a beer near the fire station, looking south toward his home. “I can see the lights, so maybe my house is still OK.”

As of 10:45 p.m., natural gas still seeped from the lines leading to the homes that had been burned. It reportedly was to have taken several hours for the gas to clear the lines.

Grand Junction Fire Department Spokesman Mike Page said it was estimated the fire would be contained by 1:30 a.m. today.

The cause was not immediately known Thursday night. Two teenage boys were seen being questioned. There were no injuries, as of 11 p.m.

Smed1065
06-22-2007, 05:33 PM
Endelt?