Last Tuesday night shoppers at City Market easily saw the dark smoke from a nearby fire.
Hotchkiss Deputy Gates Shaklee held off the flames with a garden hose last Tuesday evening until the Hotchkiss Fire Department arrived.
Shaklee was concerned about an adjacent large tree and adjacent residence catching on fire. The fire department, led by assistant fire chief Steve Schroder, was dispatched at 7:12 p.m. on July 2. The firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly. A situation that could have easily become more dangerous was averted.
The location of the fire was behind the former Go-Fer convenience store at 325 Highway 133. Over the years, the site has become a makeshift dumping site for wood, brush and trash. It also is something of a swamp due to irrigation run off. The site is also a breeding area for mosquitoes. On either side are residences.
Earl McKibben of Hotchkiss was tired of the illegal dump and decided to do something about it. He was surprised that no one wanted to help him clean up the area. He was cleaning up the location making small piles of brush and wood and then setting them on fire with his cigarette lighter. The wind came up and because everything was so dry, instantly the surroundings caught on fire. He had thought that since the surrounding area had green brush and he had dug trenches in which to burn the debris, everything would be alright. But it went up in flames.
McKibben's good samaritan role of cleaning up the dump site which included old mattresses and tires, luckily did not result in nearby residences catching on fire. The fire came within 15 to 20 feet of the nearest residence.
Deputy Shaklee stated that the case has been turned over to the district attorney's office. A fire ban is in effect in Delta County. McKibben was cited by Deputy Shaklee for "firing of woods and prairie," which is a second degree misdemeanor.
The owner of the property where the fire took place is unknown to the Marshal's Office.
Shaklee said patrols of the area will be increased. The town has an ordinance covering illegal dumping. Anyone seeing people use the location for a dump site, are asked to notify the Hotchkiss Marshal's Office at 872-3848.
With the Delta County fire ban in effect, contact Delta Dispatch at 399-2955 before burning.blog comments powered by Disqus