July 9, 2024 |

Photo – Drone photo of fire – Courtesy Sheriff Alex Bakken

A person setting off illegal fireworks likely caused the big fire in Rawlins Saturday night, Fire Chief Allen Robinson told Bigfoot 99 on Monday.

At roughly 7:30pm on Saturday, July 6th, the Rawlins Fire Department received a call about a grass fire on the hillside off Rodeo Court north of Cedar Street. Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters found that the flames had spread to the nearby salvage yard.

Fire Chief Robinson told Bigfoot99 that the fire was contained by 10:00pm on Saturday night. However, due to the large number of flammable items located in the burn area, the Chief said firefighters remained on the scene conducting mop-up operations until Sunday afternoon. Robinson said the salvage yard owner agreed to allow the remaining items to burn.

Chief Robinson said residents can expect to see smoke coming from the area for the next couple of days.

The Rawlins fire chief said three unused structures were destroyed in the blaze. The flames also consumed a dozen old mobile homes and several repurposed train cars.

The fire burned three properties across a four-and-a-half-acre area, with most of the damage being sustained by the salvage yard located southeast of Rodeo Court.

Chief Robinson said evidence at the scene indicates that illegal fireworks caused Saturday night’s fire.

Chief Robinson said authorities know who likely caused the fire. However, no one has been arrested and no information about the suspect will be released at this time.

The chief added that one firefighter sustained a minor injury while battling the blaze. The individual was treated on site and remained on the scene.

Chief Robinson said fire truck access to the south side of the fire was blocked by an electrical transmission line. The fire chief said Rocky Mountain Power shut down the entire line before his trucks arrived. After the extent of the fire was discovered, Rocky Mountain Power workers turned the electricity back on.

Chief Robinson said he has heard claims that firefighters weren’t able to get enough water from the nearby hydrants. The fire chief said crews had plenty of water to battle the fire.  The issue was that one of the hydrants broke, preventing firefighters from disconnecting their hoses until public works employees arrived on the scene to shut off the water main.

Chief Robinson said firefighters used roughly one million gallons of water to put out the blaze.

A large fire fighting force responded to the Saturday night fire.

In all, 40 firefighters from seven different departments responded to the incident. Chief Robinson also said 14 law enforcement officers from four different agencies responded to the scene.

The Rawlins Fire Department kept busy over the Fourth of July weekend. Chief Robinson said firefighters also responded to two smaller fires over the holiday.

News of Saturday’s largescale fire spread quickly over social media. Residents offered to organize free meals for first responders. Chief Robinson thanked the public for their support.

Chief Robinson also thanked all the agencies that helped fight the fire to save the nearby businesses.

Like all organizations that rely on volunteers, the Rawlins Fire Department is understaffed. Volunteers were essential to keeping the fire contained. If you would like to volunteer with the Rawlins Fire Department, call 328-4596.

The suspect identified igniting the fireworks that led to the dangerous incident may be charged, authorities say.

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