Destructive Fourmile Fire's Origin Recalled

The dangers of backyard fire pits - news and op/ed

Destructive Fourmile Fire's Origin Recalled

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:22 pm

Destructive Fourmile Fire's Origin Recalled
Alex Burness On Oct 9, 2014
Source: Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.

Oct. 09--George Fairer, the Boulder County man whose fire pit was ground zero for the infamous Fourmile Fire of 2010, died last week at 75, his family announced Wednesday.

Fairer, a 25-year volunteer for the Fourmile Fire Protection District, was never charged in the case, which wound up burning 169 structures, including Fairer's own house, as well as 6,200 acres in the foothills west of Boulder. Total insured losses stood at about $217 million, making it the most expensive wildfire in Colorado history at the time.

Fourmile Fire Chief Bret Gibson, who could not be reached Wednesday, told the Camera in 2011 that the bone-dry forest and 60 mph winds meant that almost anyone or anything could have started the fire that day, Sept. 6, 2010.

Fairer told authorities after the blaze that he'd used his fire pit Sept. 2 to burn some rotten boards.

"When I was done," Fairer said then, "I flooded it so you could've gone swimming in it. I came back the next morning and stirred it and flooded it again."

Three days later, though, a strong gust of wind reignited the embers and scattered them outside of the pit, which would ultimately cause the fire.

Fairer remained a welcome member of the department and was on the front lines during the 11 days it took more than 1,000 firefighters to fully suppress the Fourmile Fire.

"He has dealt with a horrible situation like the good, upstanding individual that he is," Gibson said in 2011. "At the same time, nobody can experience that level of an event and not have some level of their psyche affected.

"To lay blame on George is not something we do."

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said Wednesday that his office did not pursue arson charges because there was no way to prove intent on Fairer's part.

"In that case, we had a lack of evidence and the awareness that a prosecution wasn't going to accomplish anything," he said.

Jay Stalnacker, county fire management officer, described the irony of the Fourmile Fire originating at the home of a volunteer firefighter.

"It was a difficult time for all of us," he said. "The fire was very tragic, and the situations behind it were very tragic."

In an obituary published Wednesday, Fairer's family described him as "an extraordinary human being with a passion for life and a great sense of humor."

The obituary notes that Fairer lived in Colorado for 50 years and worked at the U.S. Geological Survey for more than 30 of them.

"He loved his work and was dedicated and thorough with it, as he was with anything he undertook," the family added.

Fairer is survived by his wife, Penelope.

A celebration of his life will take place at noon Saturday at the Gold Hill Inn, 401 Main St. in Gold Hill.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or, or follow him at

Copyright 2014 - Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.

source ... n-recalled

Painesville Man accidentally sets himself on fire

Posted Thursday, October 2nd 2014 @ 7am

(Painesville)-The Lake County Sheriff's Office was dispatched along with the Painesville Township Fire Department to a Sheffield Trail home in reference to a man that caught on fire in his backyard.

A neighbor who heard the explosion and observed the resident on fire called 911.

The Deputy arrived as the Fire Department was transporting the 53 year old victim, identified as Brian Schneider, to Tri-Point Medical Center for severe burns.

Mr. Schneider was conscious yet barely able to speak.

Schneider advised rescue personnel that he attempted to rid old gas from a container by pouring it onto a small fire pit on his concrete patio.

Officials say the remnants of the plastic gas can and location of the gasoline suggest the gasoline, while being poured onto an open fire pit, ignited and followed the path back to the container in Mr. Schneider's hand and caused an explosion.

source ... -12822556/
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