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A Tuesday-evening fire destroyed a cabin in the southern part of Archuleta County, and the cause of the blaze is undetermined.
No one was at the small, 20-by-20 cabin when the fire started late Tuesday. The structure was at 5400 Colo. 151, located approximately halfway between U.S. 160 and Arboles, according to Drew Peterson, director of emergency management for the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office.
A neighbor called in the fire at 4:53 p.m., reporting that the cabin was engulfed in flames, Peterson said.
The first firefighter, someone driving home, arrived at the scene at about 5:10 p.m., with the first fire truck following at 5:24 p.m., according to Peterson.
By the time firefighters arrived, the cabin was gone.
Firefighters worked through “pounding snow” to extinguish the burn, clearing the scene by about 7:15 p.m.
Though the cabin was not located within the Pagosa or Los Pinos fire protection districts, crews from both responded, along with the ACSO (which has jurisdiction within the county and outside of PFPD boundaries) and La Plata Electric Association, Peterson said.
Because the cause would be difficult to determine given the total loss, and because the structure was uninsured, Peterson said no further investigation will take place unless need arises.
Peterson provided tips to Pagosa Country residents to help them keep homes safe during the cold season, when fires and heaters are often used:
• Use caution when disposing of ashes, even in the snow, and dispose of them away from structures.
• Make sure heaters and woodburning stoves have proper clearance, with the area around them free of flammable materials. Ensure stove pipes are cleaned regularly.
• Check and double check devices, including ones that are used often, to ensure there is proper clearance.
• Ensure that insurance, either renters’ or homeowners’, covers fires, if desired.