Highlights from the Herald Democrat

15 years ago


Tim’s Auto Body fire under investigation

by Ann E. Wibbenmeyer

Herald Staff Writer

November 10, 2005

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A hot flash fire erupted in Tim’s Auto Body shop late Tuesday, Nov. 1, sending one victim on Flight For Life to Denver.

“He was conscious when we brought him out,” said John Ortiz, public information officer for the fire department.

The call came after 9 p.m., bringing the Lake County fire engine and water-tender trucks to the scene, according to the fire department public information office. An aerial truck from Copper Mountain also responded to the scene.

Seven Lake County crew members responded and three Copper Mountain crew were on the aerial truck, he said.

The fire was contained to the bay area and singed a vehicle in the area and plaster on the walls, as well as melted plastic.

The ignition source of the fire is under investigation, said Ortiz. The investigation is on hold until he can talk to the man caught in the fire.

As a result of the fire, electricity and gas were turned off in the building, leaving other businesses without heat for at least three days, according to Joe Mims of Millennium Towing.

The electricity was turned back on within hours, he said, but the heat had not been on as of Friday afternoon.

Flu vaccine shortage plagues local providers

by Marcia Martinek

Herald Editor

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The flu vaccine shortage in Lake County should be somewhat alleviated as the Herald Democrat goes to press, although there is still no clear-cut reason why vaccine has been so slow to arrive here.

The good news is that the shots should be given by the end of November in order to be most effective, according to Agnes Fabian, public health nurse, so there is still time. As of press time no cases of flu have been reported yet in the county, she said.

“It’s not time to panic,” she said.

Dr. Wayne Callen’s office at the Leadville Medical Center received 100 doses of the vaccine on Friday, but was anticipating all those doses to be given by noon Saturday, according to Shelly Miller, administrator. The office was calling the most at-risk patients to receive the vaccine first. Callen’s office was to receive 300 more doses on Tuesday of this week, Miller said.

Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger’s office received 300 doses of the vaccine on Friday and also had begun contacting high-risk patients, according to Karen Hirsheimer, administrative consultant. Zwerdlinger’s office is sponsoring flu-shot clinics on Fridays, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18. No appointment is necessary. Those wishing to receive shots may drop in and the shot will be given as long as vaccine remains.

This vaccine is not the regular shipment that Zwerdlinger’s office ordered. There is still a wait for that shipment.

Hirsheimer said she heard that St. Vincent Hospital also received some vaccine which was given to patients in the ECU.

As far as Lake County Public Health is concerned, the wait for the vaccine continues. Fabian said that public health departments’ orders are usually filled last because government entities get the vaccine at cost, so the suppliers usually fill orders for those paying higher prices, such as private clinics, first.

At Monday’s BOCC meeting, County Commissioner Ken Olsen said, “I know where rural Colorado sits with the flu vaccine, and it’s not a pretty picture.” The vaccine goes to the Walgreens and Wal-Marts, and rural Colorado is the last on the food chain, Olsen said, something he finds appalling. He plans to work with State Rep. Gary Lindstrom on this issue.

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar has gotten into the act as well. He has written to Douglas H. Benevento, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, after being contacted by at least eight rural counties, including Lake and Chaffee, that had concerns about the distribution of flu vaccine.

“The providers who have contacted my office are also reporting that though the large retailers and purchasers of the vaccine have received their doses and begun vaccination, many of the smaller providers have not,” Salazar said. He asked CDPHE to look into the reports he has received of distribution problems.

Apparently CMC arranged for its own shipment of vaccine for staff and students.

“They paid top premium for the shots and charged $25 to $30 for a shot,” Fabian said.

She added that the FDA has released all lots of the vaccine, so it should be arriving here soon.

Public health does have about 40 doses of flu vaccine remaining for high-risk kids from six months to two years of age. Those shots should be obtained as soon as possible, Fabian said.

If her shipment of vaccine does not arrive by mid-month, Fabian believes some will be available through the State Department of Public Health.

Generally speaking, some 750 shots are needed to cover the Leadville/Lake County community, Fabian said.

The flu shots being given this year do not cover anyone for the “bird flu” that has been widely publicized. Vaccine is not available for this type of flu yet, and no cases have been reported in the United States, Fabian said.

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