Firefighters tried to save recreational vehicles and boats from the flames at an early morning fire at an RV and boat storage lot.
The fire started around 4:30 Friday morning on Panonia Street near Powers Boulevard and Galley Road at Peak View Storage. It took crews 30 minutes to get the fire under control.
Matt Love, Cimarron Hills Fire Chief, said 10 to 15 RVs and boats were damaged in the fire. Most of the units damaged were a total loss.
"They're very close together, so when the fire starts in one, it moves to the rest of those fairly quickly," said Love. "We were able to force entry into [some of] them and extinguish the fire before it took out everything in the trailer."
Firefighters said the RV's propane tanks and air-conditioning units were a concern during their hour-long effort to put out the fire. There were multiple AC units, propane tanks and tires that exploded.
Love said he and his crew were surprised to see people milling around the site when they arrived at the fire. The Fire Department called El Paso County Sheriff's Office and requested that they send deputies to question the people.
"It's a storage lot, so there shouldn't be a lot of people on scene, especially on that time of the morning, so we have investigators here, and we are looking into why that occurred," said Love.
Love said he got reports that several people in the area were affected by smoke inhalation. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it hasn't made an arrest yet.
Investigators are looking into causes of the fire. Love said they haven't ruled out the possibility of arson.
Love said it is suspicious that a couple of people were on the scene when crews arrived, but investigators have not determined whether it was arson.
"Certainly looking into it, always, always, we don't rule it out until it can be absolutely ruled out," said Love on the possibility of arson.
One man showed up just after 8:30 a.m. to check on his RV. His RV was destroyed in the fire. He didn't know what the next steps were. He said he did know he wasn't the only one that lost something in the flames.
The manager at Peak View Storage said she was sorry for her customers that lost belongings in the early morning fire. She said the storage company does not cover costs of the damages lost, saying that is typical of all storage companies.
She said people's losses will need to be handled by their own insurance companies.
Insurance agents told KRDO Newschannel 13 that, typically, storage facilities assume no liability when items are damaged or stolen.
"The owner of the (personal) property would have the primary responsibility to cover that in the event of the fire, vandalism or theft," said Randy Geving, with Six & Geving Insurance.
Geving said vehicle or boat insurance would apply for those stored items, and homeowner's and renter's insurance would generally cover other personal property.
If negligence on the part of the storage facility resulted in lost or damaged property, the insurance company would likely pay the consumer, then seek to re-coup that money from the facility.
Geving recommends taking photos or videos of all property you have at a storage facility.