At least four structures have reportedly been destroyed in a fire that swept through a portion of the Dempsey Acres subdivision Sunday afternoon. No serious injuries have been reported, although one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation, according to sheriff’s office Lt. Mark Sellers.
Authorities were stopping all traffic on Chamberlin Road, the only road leading into the subdivision. Residents of the area were evacuated, and those that were not being allowed to return home Sunday were being sent to an evacuation center in the Mills Elementary School.
David Ellis was one of a small group of people waiting at Chamberlin Road and Pendell Boulevard. He said his friend, well-known Casper artist Rose Cash, 85, was one of those who lost her home in the fire. Cash was able to escape without injury, but several of her dogs and many original works of art were lost.
Cash soon arrived to meet Ellis. She clutched two of her teacup poodles as she spoke to reporters. Another looked up at her from a nearby crate.
“I lost seven dogs in the fire,” she said, her voice trembling. “I tried to get to more of them.”
Cash said she woke up from a nap when she smelled smoke.
“I figured it was just the smoke coming from Colorado,” she said. “Then I looked out the back door, and my porch was on fire. There was fire everywhere.”
Cash’s neighbors picked her up and transported her to safety. As she evacuated her residence on Sam Howell Road, Cash said she couldn’t see anything but smoke.
“I lost everything,” she said.
The fire created a large plume of thick black smoke that was visible as far east as Beverly Street. At about 3 p.m. smoke from the fire created fog-like conditions on Beech Street.
Natrona County had been under a fire weather warning since 10 a.m. Sunday. The National Weather Service in Riverton said winds in the Casper area were around 30 mph, with gusts of up to 45 mph through Sunday afternoon.
The cause of the fire had not been determined Sunday evening.