Father, son remain in critical condition after fire destroys house
A fire injured six people, two with serious burns, and destroyed a house and two cars at 1543 Chesham Circle early Jan. 17.
Called at 3:40 a.m., the Fire Department sent a total of 10 units and 44 firefighters to the scene. Despite high winds and houses on either side in the residential area west of Holland Park, the fire was contained to the one property.
City fire investigators have reported that the blaze was accidental and that it started in the house's attached garage, but as of press deadline (Jan. 19) they did not know what caused it or what the accelerant was.
The worst injuries were to Tom Sabino and his 10-year-old son Tyler. They were transported to a Denver burn center, according to Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Bill Hull, with the son later being taken to a center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Marion Potts, whose daughter, Tina Cordova, is Sabino's fiancee, said Tom has been put into an induced coma to better treat his injuries, and there is concern about Tyler losing fingers.
According to reports from witnesses, the fire built up so quickly that the dozen people sleeping in the house (including seven children) had to get outside quickly, with no time to grab clothes or other possessions. Then Tom Sabino realized Tyler was still inside the house and ran upstairs to get him. Both were badly burned when he emerged.
The other four who were injured - including Tom Sabino's two teen-aged older sons, Sal and Peter - were treated and released at Colorado Springs hospitals. Sal suffered burns to his hands putting out the fire on his father.
The damage estimate is $225,000, and the house has been declared “a total loss,” Hull said.
Two families, connected by long-time friends Tina Cordova and Robyn Bridgeman, were living in the seven-bedroom house, pooling their funds to cover rent, according to Marion Potts, Tina's mother. Tom Sabino worked at a local Souper Salad, and he and his sons (from a previous marriage) had been in the house the longest, about three years, she said.
It hasn't been easy. Tina had to pawn her car to pay the rent the previous month, Potts said. Now, “they've lost everything. And there's no insurance at all.”
A donation fund has been established at US Bank, called the Chesham Fire Relief Fund. Taking donations of clothes and toys is the Springs Vineyard Church, 4151 Centennial Blvd. Its phone number is 268-1790. Potts' phone number is 200-2043.
Helping out that night was the Bidwell family, who had moved to Colorado Springs from Florida last April. Beth Bidwell said she opened her house to evacuees from the 1543 house. Bloody footprints still mark her concrete walk outside and the carpet inside.
“The father collapsed out by the street after getting his little boy,” Bidwell said. “My husband and others tried to get him in because it was so cold. But we could only get him to the threshold. We put a blanket under him because it hurt too much to have it on him.”
She said that members of Sabino's family have since called to thank her. “To me, I was just doing what a neighbor would do,” Bidwell said. “I would think someone would help me the same way. I didn't give it a second thought.”
The homes on Chesham Circle are part of a subdivision built about seven years ago, just west of Centennial Boulevard.
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