Fire at Foundry scorches gym and wellness facility

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The gym and wellness facility at the Foundry Treatment Center caught fire Friday, April 22. Smoke damage can be seen near the roof, which is where residents and staff first spotted the smoke.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

A fire broke out at the Foundry Treatment Center just south of Steamboat Springs on Friday, April 22.

Staff and residents noticed smoke emerging from the gym and wellness facility, which is not attached to the main facility that houses the residents in treatment, around 1:30 p.m. Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue arrived on scene shortly after that.

“We never saw anything,” said Chief Executive Officer Ben Cort, referencing security cameras that monitor the Foundry facility. “We just saw the smoke. It looks like it was instantaneous.”

Doug Shaffer, incident commander, said the cause of the fire is still difficult to determine, but its origin was pinned to a corner of the building. It took a long time to get an assessment of the fire because the building was filled with smoke.

“They have a germination room in here for their garden operation,” Shaffer said. “It took us longer than I could have imagined, but we finally got enough smoke out of there, we were able to be pretty sure that’s the area of the origin of the fire.”

Smoke and heat built up quickly in the building, blowing out the windows on the backside. Crew members opened doors and stripped off large screens to help clear out some of the smoke before they entered the building.

As the smoke cleared the building, the wind spread a pungent smell across the property. Shaffer said crews would let the building clear out even more before returning to further investigate the cause of the fire.

“Any time you see that much smoke, there’s a good amount of heat,” Shaffer said. “Everything was closed up also, so it kept the heat in there.”

Because of the smoke and heat damage, the building will be unusable for an undetermined amount of time, leaving Foundry residents without a crucial part of their treatment programming.

“Wellness and fitness is a really integrated part of our program,” said Cort, who recently purchased the Foundry. “It’s got real therapeutic value. It’s also somewhere we spend a lot of time. Not having this space, we’re going to have to figure out an alternative. I have a lot of confidence in our partners in the immediate area that we’ll be able to find some gyms and things. It’ll be a disruption in the day-to-day. But disruptions happen every day in people’s journey to recovery. They’re actually having a group talking about it right now. Unpredictable and unmanageable things happen sometimes. We’ll deal with it.”

West Routt Fire District and Oak Creek Fire Protection responded to the incident as well, providing support for Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue.

“That was initially because out here there’s not a water source,” Shaffer said. “Oak Creek brought a tanker, and just extra people from West Routt (were called) in case we were still fighting the fire when they got here.”

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