U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Region 6

The Mountain-Prairie Region



April 30, 1997

Gene Patten 970-723-8202

John Hamill 303-236-8155 ext 252

Diane Katzenberger 303-236-7905

Fire Destroys Headquarters Building at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge

Sometime between 10:30 p.m., Saturday, April 26 and 5:30 a.m. Sunday, April 27 the headquarters building of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Walden, Colo. was burned to the ground. No one was at the headquarters at the time, and there were no witnesses to the fire. According to Gene Patten, Refuge Manager, the building and its contents are a complete loss.

The fire, which started in the basement, is being investigated by Jackson County Sheriff Gary Cure. AIn my 24 years of law enforcement, I have never seen a building burn so completely,@ said Sheriff Cure. The sheriff added that at the present time there is no physical evidence to indicate that the fire was deliberately set. It is believed by those first on the site that the building was probably gone in 30-45 minutes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been notified of the fire and are ready to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Sheriff Cure, should the need arise.

AAll historical records, along with many personal items, were lost in the blaze,@ said Refuge Manager Patten. The staff has moved to a house on the Refuge while they assess the losses. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials at this time, it does not appear that any public uses of the refuge will be affected by the fire.

The Refuge, which includes 23,267 acres, was established in 1967 and has a staff of 5 permanent employees, 2 volunteers, 2-4 Biological Technicians, and 4 from the Youth Conservation Corps.

The Refuge located near Walden, Colorado in Jackson County in Northcentral Colorado, was the former ranch of the family of U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. The building was the family home and was being used as the administrative building at the time of the fire. AI am very sorry to learn of the fire which destroyed our former home in Jackson County. I grew up in that house and lived there until we sold the ranch when I was in high school. One of the things I will always remember is saving a lot of baby calves in the basement of that old house during the cold winter months,@ Senator Allard said when being told of the fire.

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