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La Jara sawmill burns

Posted: Thursday, Jan 10th, 2013

Alpine Lumber in La Jara burned to the ground on Saturday, Jan. 5. Courier photo by Tori Vigil

Courier staff writer

LA JARA – Alpine Lumber’s sawmill in La Jara burned to the ground on Saturday, Jan. 5, at approximately 3 a.m.

Conejos County police officer Shawn Woods happened to be driving near the mill around 3 in the morning when he saw the flames and called it in.

The owners were contacted by the Conejos County police department. When owner Mike Hostetter arrived on the scene he said the flames had already engulfed the entire building. Twelve trucks were trying to put out the fire.

La Jara, Sanford, Romeo, and Capulin fire departments responded to the fire. They were able to contain the fire around 7 a.m. However, on Wednesday morning the remains of the building was still smoldering as workers were beginning work to remove the burnt debris.

“We are doing our best to keep serving our customers and keep them supplied by outsourcing from other mills,” said Hostetter. He didn’t want to try and estimate any possible losses stating that the insurance company was still in the process of estimating the damage.

Hostetter and other family members who co-own the business have been speaking with their insurance company since Saturday and are hoping they can have this step in the rebuilding process taken care of quickly.

Hostetter said the mill lost at least three big pieces of equipment, multiple conveyors, chain saws, and some laser lights, just to name a few things.

“There is no suspicion of arson at all,” said Hostetter. He speculated that the fire may have started due to an electrical malfunction because of the cold weather conditions lately.

As Hostetter pointed to the smoldering remains of the building he commented that the remains will probably stay smoldering for weeks because of all the sawdust.

“We called the fire department out here again on Monday due to the smoldering,” said Hostetter.

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