Colo. FFs Attacked by Crowd at Scene


Fighting a fire in Greeley got more difficult over the holiday weekend when, authorities say, one man started attacking firefighters.

The fire was reported about 3 a.m. Monday in the Spanish Colony neighborhood. It destroyed one home and damaged a second home.

When firefighters turned to saving adjacent homes, family members and residents demanded that they do more to save the first home, according to court records. One man was arrested after a physical confrontation with a firefighter.

According to the arrest affidavit, Frank Gutierrez, 21, was "obviously intoxicated" and asked why crews weren't trying to put the fire out.

Records show Gutierrez shoved one firefighter, "almost knocking him to the ground" and struck another firefighter on his facemask.

The fire left three people homeless, including the 93-year-old homeowner.

"It was disturbing watching the home go up in smoke," said Delores Gutierrez, a family member who stopped by the home Wednesday to meet with a claims adjuster. "He was really concerned about the firefighters not doing anything about it, just standing around."

Neighbors said firefighters had several issues trying to put out the fire, including a stuck tanker truck and low water pressure from a nearby hydrant.

Fire Chief Duane McDonald admits that the water pressure is low in the area.

He said the neighborhood is at the end of a dead end water line, so the water pressure in the two hydrants is less than half what it is at most hydrants in Greeley.

He said it's enough pressure to put out a small house fire, but not a fully engulfed home, two cars and another home on fire.

"He (Gutierrez) felt we should be putting water on the house that was fully involved when we were focusing on keeping it from spreading," said McDonald. "A lot of people are focusing on the hydrant. It didn't put out much water. I'm thankful we had it, because 10 years ago we would not have had it, we would have been forced to bring in tankers."

But for the family who lost their homes, that's not good enough.

"Something does need to be done," said Gutierrez. "Because if it wasn't this house, it could have been another house."

Investigators believe fireworks may have started the fire.

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