El Paso County Home Burns to the Ground

Moments after an explosion inside a mobile home south of Calhan, ravenous flames chewed through the thin walls sending a black column of smoke into the air above what was Jim Hughes' home.

"She[Hughes' girlfriend] heard a 'fsss,' noise, a boom and it followed her out with flames," Jim said about the explosion."

Hughes wasn't home at the time, but his girlfriend was. They think a hose connected to a propane tank in the home ruptured. The gas ignited as she was doing her laundry, burning the home single-wide home down in a matter of minutes.

"By the time we got here, it was fully involved," said Calhan Deputy Fire Chief Doyle Stroup.

Fire crews from Calhan and at least five other nearby agencies got to the scene as quickly as they could, but all these resources had just put out a grass fire about five miles to the North.
By the time they refilled their water trucks, the frustrated fire fighters could do little but watch the home burn.

"We put it out as we can," said Stroup. "But this one was so involved, we just tried to protect the out structures."

The main structure is a complete loss, so are two cars. Hughes said because he just finished work on the house, there will be no insurance check.

"Last night I was sitting there. I said, 'now it's done, I have to get homeowners insurance before it all goes up in flames,'" said Hughes.

Combing through the wreckage, Hughes and his girlfriend have their lives and the clothes on their backs and also the stark realization, for now, there is no place to call home.

"I've never had nothing before," said Hughes.


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