A housefire in the western Nebraska town of Gurley has left a man dead and his granddaughter clinging to life in a Colorado hospital. Forty-eight-year-old Frank Ortivez was pronounced dead at his residence after Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived just after 8:45 Thursday morning.
Ortivez’ family members were already at the house and had found his 6-year-old granddaughter wrapped in a blanket under a bed; she was rushed to Memorial Health Center in Sidney and then airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub says her condition is improving. At this point authorities believe once Ortivez discovered the house filled with smoke he tried to protect the girl by wrapping her in the blanket under the bed.
Schaub says there was very little oxygen to fuel the fire inside the house and both victims suffered smoke inhalation. The Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation and believes the fire was caused accidentally by a burning cigarette sometime in the night.
Thanks to Dave Collins, KSID, Sidney