Fire Leaves 9 Units Uninhabitable
In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 2, a fire broke out at Eagles Nest Apartments located at 1531 Mt Lincoln Dr E. in Leadville. Nine units were impacted in the building which houses units 73 & 78, leading to the evacuation of 50 residents. According to officials, the emergency call came in at 3:40 a.m. with crews from Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue arriving shortly after and at 4:06 a.m. the fire was extinguished at the compromised facility located 1.3 miles from the firehouse.
While officials did not identify the cause of the fire in the media advisory they released on Saturday morning, Leadville Today spoke to one resident at the apartment complex. A male who lives in one of the units adjacent to where the incident took place described the cause as follows: “Old Man, Oxygen, Cigarette, BOOM!” The resident was also able to confirm that there were no injuries other than to the unidentified “old man,” who was reported in the official statement to be the “one person was transported to SVGH for evaluation.”
The units affected are currently under a “red tag” warning, being officially deemed as an “Unsafe Structure” by the Lake County Building and Land Use Department. Local fire restoration crews from KW Restoration and Construction have initiated the remediation procedures necessary after a structure fire. It’s unclear at this point when the units will be safe to inhabit. It was reported that Xcel Energy was also on the scene to address any gas or electric concerns with the fire. Fortunately, the incident was contained and only nine units were impacted.
In the short term, residents impacted by the fire were sent to the Sixth Street Gym early Saturday morning which acts as an evacuation center during emergencies and disasters. Responding agencies to the fire included: Lake County Fire Rescue, Lake County Sheriff Office, Leadville Police Department and SVGH Ambulance.
About Eagles Nest Apartments
Originally built atop Fremont Pass in the old “company town,” of Climax to house the hundreds of underground miners working at the neighboring mine, like many of those structures, the Eagles Nest Apartments were relocated down to Leadville in the mid-1960s. Yes, these buildings were actually moved down the highway from the top of Fremont Pass along Highway 91.
Since then, the units have gone through a few owners but perhaps more notable was their color changed, inspiring nicknames for the apartment complex that range from “Stonehenge” in the late 60s/early 70s to the unforgettable “Smurfville,” mocking its stand-out blue hue of the late 90s. But the big news for Eagles Nest Apartments came in June 2016 with the announcement that the complex had been bought for $13.5 million by Japanese investor Masayuki Tsukada. Today, Eagles Nest Apartments offers 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments, including laundry facilities and free off-street parking.
Snow Day for LCSD Students, Other Districts Too
Students in the Lake County School District will not be in school in Leadville Today, March 4, so that officials may spend the time clearing snow from facilities and properties. According to Lake County School District’s Chief Financial Officer Kate Bartlett, “As a safety precaution due to the extensive amount of snow received this weekend all of our schools will be closed on Monday, March 4 to allow for snow removal from roofs and school property.” Barlet stated that the decision was made in conjunction with the Lake County Office of Emergency Management.
Parents and teachers were alerted on Sunday afternoon that school and all school activities are canceled on Monday so that school officials could, “clear the roofs particularly at Pitts and West Park,” a procedure Barlett explained is part of the district’s procedure, “once the snow reaches a certain depth.”
In addition, the district, like many across Colorado, experienced a large outbreak of flu and other illnesses last week.
“On any given day, we had 100 or more students and many staff members absent across the district,” explained Barlett. In addition to snow removal duties, the custodial staff will have the opportunity to do “a disinfecting clean of as many schools and classrooms as possible.”
The school district’s decision leaves many parents and families scrambling to find a safe place for their children to stay on Monday while many travel over mountains passes to work. The district explained that they “expect school to run as normal on Tuesday, March 5.”
It’s worth noting that for the more than 200 Leadville school children who travel out of the district for school (choice), as of early Monday morning, both Eagle and Summit County School Districts have also decided to close their classrooms on March 4. No word yet if the Buena Vista School District, which sees two busloads of Leadville students daily, will be closed. Leadville Today will update this report as conditions change.