Fatal fire’s cause not pinpointed

Windows and walls destroyed by the July 9 late-night blaze at 121 N. Ashley Ave. in Pinedale are boarded up as investigators continue work to determine the cause, which killed a man and injured a woman.

Investigators are still

searching for the cause of the fatal fire on

July 9 that killed a Pinedale man and sent

a woman to the intensive care unit at an

Idaho burn clinic.

James Tipton, 61, was identified Monday

as the man whose burned body was

removed after the late-night fire blazed

through the single-family home at 121

N. Ashley Ave., Pinedale. The cause of

his death was not yet determined either

by press time.

After the fire started and noxious

smoke poured from the house, a neighbor

heard Tricia Gregory Gunderson, 57,

screaming to someone to get out. He said

he could not see anyone inside the house,

which was blazing, and moved her away

from the house.

The neighbor called 911 at 10:50 p.m.

Sublette County Unified Fire, Wyoming

Highway Patrol and Sublette County

deputies responded within four to five

minutes, the neighbor said. SCUF arrived

with 32 firefighters and 10 firefighting

apparatus and contained the blaze but

could not enter the home immediately

due to the flames and heavy smoke.

Sublette EMS treated Gunderson initially

and transported her to the Pinedale Medical

Clinic. She was picked up by an air ambulance

helicopter and taken to Eastern Idaho Regional

Medical Center’s burn clinic intensive

care unit to be treated for acute smoke inhalation

and burns. This past week, Gunderson

was moved into a regular ward at EIRMC in

fair condition.

Patricia Knudsen, of Rock Springs, owns

the property, according to county land records.

The American Red Cross of Wyoming announced

it is assisting with lodging and other

immediate and longer-term needs.

Dave Harley of the Wyoming State Fire

Marshal’s Office is assisting Sublette County

investigators in determining the cause and origin

of this fatal fire. Regarding the origin and

cause of the Ashley Avenue house fire, Harley

said county investigators are completing interviews,

including with Gunderson, for a report

that will help him reach a conclusion.

Harley is also investigating the July 11

blaze that destroyed the landmark lodge at

White Pine Ski Resort, 12 miles up Skyline

Road from Pinedale. He was meeting an insurance

agent there Thursday to examine the

devastated building.


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