SAN LUIS — Preliminary reports aren't always accurate and official reports won’t be available for several weeks on the Nov. 26 home fire and death of Alex Quintana, 99, at San Luis.
His daughter, Marjorie Naramore, said the elderly man had lived alone following his wife’s death and was in good health, with strong mental ability and a good memory.
Utilizing an acute memory, Alex treasured the many generations his family had been in Costilla County and was helping Marjorie document the family history.
She said “nobody knows what happened the day of her dad’s death," although community rumors have created many versions.
Marjorie and her husband Kenneth saw him early in the day and she fixed him breakfast, then took his blankets to Alamosa for washing.
She had been cooking and cleaning for him, taking him for rides and sometimes sitting and talking with him as he told stories of the old days. An heir to the land grant, Alex had a key to the gates and loved driving there, talking about hunting and fishing.
Proud of his age, Alex would often express amazement that he would soon be 100. His landmark birthday would have been Sept. 17 and he was looking forward to it. Although he used a cane, he could get around well and make plans.
A retired farmer, he loved the outdoors and knew how to take care of himself, though he didn’t try to cook or use the stove.
“He was very independent,” Marjorie says of her father, “although I spoiled him.”
Alex was alone when the fire started.
A son who who had been fishing on the Vega looked toward town, seeing smoke that seemed to come from his father’s home.
He went into the four-bedroom home, which was filled with smoke, and didn’t find Alex until he noticed the back door open and found him on the porch, badly burned and deceased.
Reports are unavailable as to exactly where the fire started, or how, Marjorie said, noting that the family anxiously awaits autopsy reports, as well.
She was in Alamosa when she received the call about her father and the house fire and rushed back to San Luis. Firefighters, EMTs and the sheriff were there and her dad’s remains were in an ambulance. He was badly burned and taken away for an autopsy, though the actual cause of death won’t be known until those reports are complete.
Left to make arrangements for a funeral, which took place Dec.1, his large family waits for answers.