Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Fire prompts adorable evacuation


January 10, 2019

Vicki Maurer

First responders from Boulder Rural Fire inspect damage on the roof of the Jerry Sinor Building in Niwot on Jan. 2.

Three eight-week old puppies were rescued not once, but twice last week, after a small fire broke out at the Niwot Veterinary Clinic (6964 N. 79th Street) where they were being treated prior to adoption.

Niwot Veterinary assistant Katelyn Ristow said one of the clinic’s doctors stepped outside around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2, then rushed back inside after she and a nail technician from Classic Looks hair salon saw smoke and flames coming from the roof. The veterinarian told Ristow to call 911 and then quickly worked to evacuate the clinic’s patients, the puppies and an uncooperative cat. “I was on the phone and trying to get the cat in the kennel, and he was not very happy about that.”

All of the animals and clinic staff made it out safely, Ristow said. Meanwhile, one of the building owners in the law office next to the vet clinic scaled a ladder with a fire extinguisher, and managed to douse the flames before first responders arrived.

A truck from Boulder Rural Fire was first on the scene, arriving “within minutes,” according to Ristow. Eventually, fire and medical personnel from Mountain View Fire, Longmont Fire, Lafayette Fire, Louisville Fire, and Rocky Mountain Fire responded to the reports of a “structure fire,” but only Boulder Rural deployed any equipment.

Witnesses said the incident lasted approximately 90 minutes from the first 911 call until tenants were given the all clear to return to their offices. Bruce Warren, one of the building’s four owners, said a subsequent investigation by Mountain View Fire, which provides primary response to the Niwot area, determined that heat tape pulled out of a downspout during a roof replacement project and left behind had developed “a kink” which caused it to overheat and melt several layers of roofing. This resulted in smoke and flames “up to two feet high,” but damaged only a 15-foot by six-foot section of the building’s roof.

The MVFD report estimates between $5,000 and $10,000 in total loss from the event. An adjuster from the building’s insurance company inspected the damage on Jan. 4 and will release an estimate later this month, though Warren doesn’t expect it will differ from the fire department’s.

Vicki Maurer

Fire damaged a small section of the roof of the Sinor Building (6964 N. 79th Street) on Jan. 2.

The puppies and their feline friend were picked up later that afternoon by representatives from RezDawgs Rescue of Boulder, the agency overseeing their pre-adoption care.

“We think they’re mixes,” Ristow said of the three male littermates, who were recovering from being neutered prior to the incident. “The mom looks like a [Australian] cattle dog, but they don’t know about the dad. They’re pretty cute, though.”

Two of the puppies went to their new forever homes later that night, while the other seven members of the litter were featured at an adoption event at the Boulder Petco on Jan. 5.

This is the second response by emergency personnel to this location in recent months. Last fall, a dumpster fire broke out between the Sinor Building and the Link Building in the overnight hours, but caused little damage.


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