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Retired Boone fire chief reflects on Thursday's wildfire

Stephen Csogl was chief for 16 years

Retired fire chief reflects on Thursdays wildfire in Boone

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Among homeowners waiting for evacuations to be lifted in Thursday's Double Fork fire in Boone was the town's first fire chief.

Stephen Csogl, 94, served as chief from 1954 to 1970.

"Does seeing this fire want to make me return to firefighting?  It sure does," he said, proudly showing a cellphone photo of wearing his uniform in his younger days.  "But all I can do is watch now.  Let the young whippersnappers handle it."

Csogl said he was away from home when he learned of the fire but was unable to check on its status because of road closures due to the fire.

"I hope it's OK," he said.  "I live in an old barracks from the Pueblo Airport that I restored."

The fire couldn't be avoided, Csogl said, because of recent dry conditions.

"We've had fires before, but nothing like this," he said.

The fire reminded many in the community of a similar fire 10 years ago when the town of Ordway, to the east in Crowley County, evacuated.

Two firefighters from Olney Springs, Terry DeVore and John Schwartz, were killed in April 2008 when their brush truck crashed after driving over a bridge that was damaged by the fire.

Authorities said the fire was accidentally caused by an Ordway resident who was conducting a prescribed burn on his property.

The fire burned nearly 9,000 acres.


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