When it was over, chunks of Telluride history lay on the ground smoldering.
Hundreds of people flocked to Fir Street last night and watched as one of Telluride’s iconic businesses billowed into the night air. Baked in Telluride, a historic bakery located in the heart of Telluride on Fir Street, caught fire last night sometime around 10 p.m. The blaze lasted well into this morning, as myriad Telluride firefighters struggled to combat an enemy that burned too hot to get close to.
By 2:45 a.m., the blaze had eaten into the classic red, tin structure and had all but consumed the building. Chunks of tin broke away and the roof eventually bucked as fire lurked through the building. At about 1:45 a.m., the flames began licking at the front door. At times, they shot high into the air, glowing towers amid the thick clouds of smoke.
No one was inside the building at fire’s onset, according to reports.
For hours, the streets were awash in light from three large fire engines and firemen scurried like ants across the roads and on all sides of the tin building as it sent plumes of smoke into the night. The streets were packed with onlookers who were shuffled around as officials closed off nearly an entire block for staging. Every firefighter within the fire protection district was summoned, some 70 plus in total.
Early reports indicated that the fire may have started in a grease trap beneath the building’s floor. That posed problems for firefighters who tried to get into the building, as the floor was too hot to walk on.
For hours, smoke slithered out the buildings cracks as fire crews intermittently doused the building’s roof. As of 12:30 a.m., the building had not burst into the flames on the outside, though the fire inside the building burned hot: one fireman estimated temperatures had reached 1,000 degrees in parts of the building, notably near the roof. For a short while, crews thought they had saved the structure from destruction. Once it was apparent fire would consume the entire building, they began working to keep the adjacent buildings safe.
All the while, Jerry Greene, the bakery’s owner, stood in the street in front of his bakery and simply watched, his eyes reflecting his burning building.