The Superior Express -

Monday's house fire leaves Byron family of four homeless


January 30, 2020

Brandi Erickson and her three children escaped without injury Monday evening when their Byron residence caught fire, but their lives will never be the same. The children include a boy and two girls between the ages of five and twelve.

Around 11:30 p.m., their neighbor, Wendy Nutsch, directly across the street to the west came home from work and thought she smelled smoke, but could see nothing. She decided it must be smoke from someone’s fireplace.

About an hour later Brandi’s oldest daughter beat on Nutsch’s front door. She had awakened to a crackling noise and woke up the rest of the family.

“I looked out and flames where shooting out of their roof,” Nutsch said. “I raced across the street and helped everyone get out, including their pets.” (Tuesday morning the whereabouts of the family cat was still uncertain, but the dog was fine.)

“My phone started going wild at 12:49 p.m. when I called the fire department,” Nutsch said as she studied her cell phone record.

More than 15 members of the Byron Volunteer Fire Department responded with all their equipment: a pumper truck, a tanker, four grass rigs and an equipment truck. Members of the Chester Volunteer Fire Department responded with eight to 10 firemen, two trucks and pumper truck. In addition an ambulance came.

The Thayer County Sheriff’s department cared for the immediate needs of the Erickson family. The Red Cross expected to pick up caring for the Erickson Family Tuesday afternoon.

“When we arrived the flames were shooting into the air and the north and south sides of the roof had already collapsed,” Kenny Poppe, Byron fire chief said.

“We think the fire started in the attic,” Poppe said, “and was probably started by an overloaded electrical circuit, but that is not official. When the fire marshal came, he pointed out there was an electric heater in almost every room.”

Fire destroyed the roof. “It was pretty much confined to the attic and upstairs,” Poppe said.

“We were fortunate it was not windy and neither was it real cold,” Poppe said. “That helped lots.”

In addition to two fire departments, the Thayer County Sheriff and ambulance, both the gas department and the electric department responded. For a few hours, Carpenter Street in the southeast corner of Byron was packed with emergency vehicles.

Brandi is the daugher of Jane Jensen of Nelson and Curt Jensen of Elizabeth, Colorado.


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