PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A ranch in Old Snowmass went up in flames last month, killing two people and several animals. An engaged couple managed to escape the fire, but not without injury.
Kate Sartain survived and so did her fiancé, Clint Coerdt, but he suffered burns to nearly 50% of his body and has been in the hospital for the past 24 days recovering. Tragically, Coerdt’s parents and four animals did not survive.
Sartain told FOX31 that she and her fiancé’s parents had never met, and that weekend, their families came together and met at the ranch to plan their wedding. She describes it as the best time and something she’ll cherish.
However, on June 13 around 2 a.m., flames gutted the ranch on Monastery Cutoff Road. Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call of a structure fire.
“We went to bed that night and the next thing I know, I woke up to smoke,” Sartain said.
She said that she ran out the front door and Coerdt ran to get a fire extinguisher, but quickly realized the intensity of the fire and rushed to try and save his parents. She described the flames as aggressive and said they quickly engulfed the home.
To save his own life, Coerdt was forced to jump out of the second-story window. His parents, Henrie Coerdt, 76, and Barbara ”Suni” Coerdt, 71, did not survive.
Sartain and Coerdt also lost two dogs and two cats in the fire.
“Losing your parents is hard, losing your dogs that were your best friends is hard, losing your home is hard,” Sartain cried. “But all three of those things is challenging.”
After tragedy, young couple’s bond ‘stronger than ever’
Coerdt was flown to UCHealth’s burn center, where he’s been receiving treatment for nearly one month.
“Clint is going to walk out of here really soon, and our bond is stronger than ever,” Sartain said.
Coerdt has a long road to a full recovery, but he’s already defying the odds.
“He is the most motivated person you’ll ever meet to get out of that hospital. The doctors tell him he needs to do this today and he does it two times,” Sartain said. “He’s superhuman. He’s fighting this fight like a superhero.”
A superhero with super supporters, and that’s something Saratain said has been keeping them hopeful. A close family friend started a GoFundMe that raised $429,154. The community has also created fundraisers, donated clothes and written messages of support.
“They’ve made it clear they won’t let us fail,” Sartain cried. “Every ounce of their energy has been poured into making sure that we know that. I can’t thank them enough for that. Truly, it’s humbling.”
Together, they’re mourning more than one person can cope with, but there’s a silver lining.
“There has to be a purpose we’re here. There has to be a reason we were able to get out of that fire,” Sartain said.
The engaged couple plans to continue their dream and rebuild their dream home that’s been reduced to rubble. According to Sartain, the cause of the fire was inconclusive.
The couple still plans to get married, and the great news is Coerdt is expected to be released from the hospital in less than two weeks.