(CBS4) – The community of Monte Vista in southern Colorado is reeling after strong winds pushed a destructive fire through the city on Wednesday. Several houses and at least 8 mobile homes were destroyed and six families are displaced.
The fire burned 17 acres and also destroyed vehicles before crews got it under control. A firefighting helicopter helped by making water drops from above.
By 9 p.m. evacuations that had been put into place were lifted, although there are currently some downed power lines and power outages were still being experienced during the day on Thursday. The areas that were touched by the fire are currently blocked from public access.
Donna Martinez saw the plume of smoke and told CBS4 she was thankful she didn’t lose her home, which is only a block away.
“I thank the firefighters and everybody involved because there’s no place like home and I just couldn’t imagine losing my home,” said Martinez.
There are no reports of any injuries from the fire.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway. It’s not clear at this time where exactly it started.
“The Monte Vista Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and fire investigators from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control continue to investigate the origin and cause of the fire and have officers and agents working in the damage zone today,” Monte Vista Police Chief George Dingfelder said in a prepared statement on Thursday.
The families affected by the fire are being offered assistance through the Rio Grande County Department of Social Services and the San Luis Valley Victim Response Unit, Dingfelder said. Residents have also been stepping up to provide food and clothing to the families whose homes were destroyed.
“What happened today was devastating to our community,” one Monte Vista resident told CBS4 on Wednesday night.
Authorities are planning to ask for disaster assistance as they assess the full scope of the damage from the fire.
Monte Vista is located in Rio Grande County between Alamosa and Del Norte and has a population of 4,150 people.
Cash donations to help the Monte Vista Community Fund (write fire victims in the memo of checks) should be sent to 95 1st Ave, MV 81144.
To help the Monte Vista Food Bank, call 719-852-4851.
Clothes can be brought to the Nazarene Thrift Store at 730 1st Ave. Call 719-852-2713 for more information.