Fire destroys house on Willett Ranch

Courtesy photo Members of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) prepare to battle a house fire in Sanford late Monday afternoon. The home was reportedly a total loss, but no injuries were reported according to a DFPC spokesman. Sanford Fire was first on scene and requested mutual aid from DFPC.

SANFORD — A fire resulted in the total loss of a house on Willett Ranch near Sanford in Conejos County on Monday afternoon. People were occupying the house but fortunately, according to Conejos County Sheriff Garth Crowther, no one was home at the time, so no injuries, either to people or animals, were reported.

Crowther stated that his office was notified of the fire in progress at about 4:20 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The property is located in the Sanford Fire District but there was an immediate response by numerous agencies in the area, including the Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control as well as fire departments from Sanford, Romeo, La Jara, Antonito, Manassa and Carmel. Conejos County Road and Bridge was also on scene with an excavator.  

Crowther said that some of the firefighters were on scene until 10 or 11 p.m. Monday night but all crews had left when he returned to the scene at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. “We’re still looking into it but, at this point, it looks to be accidental,” Crowther said.

Crowther praised the efforts of the firefighters in containing the fire as, despite the high winds at the time, flames did not spread to surrounding land.

“If it had been two or three weeks ago, we would have been chasing that fire all the way to Fort Carson, but things were still green enough. There were a couple of spots that started up, but they were able to contain them. The fire departments did an excellent job. It’s very sad for the family but it could have been a whole lot worse,” Crowther said.