Vehicle crashes into local Comfort Dental, abandoned at scene

Update: July 1, 3:15 p.m.

A blue Saturn crashed into the Comfort Dental offices on Lemay St. Photo courtesy: Dr. Al Tripam
A blue Saturn crashed into the Comfort Dental offices on Lemay St. Photo courtesy: Dr. Al Tripam

Fort Collins Police Services are investigating a vehicle crash that occurred at approximately 2:03 a.m. Saturday.

According to a press release, a blue Saturn crashed into the Comfort Dental on Lemay Street. When police arrived on scene, nobody was found inside the car or the building.

“When police officers first arrived, several witnesses were in the area and some were taking photos and/or video,” said Paul Wood of Fort Collins Police Services. “By the time that officers had checked for occupants in the vehicle, the witnesses had left the scene.”

Police attempted to call the registered owner of the vehicle, but were unsuccessful. The owner never returned the call, nor answered further calls from police.

Dr. Al Tripam, owner of the Comfort Dental franchise on Lemay, said that he was woken by a call from police soon after the incident.

“When I arrived the vehicle was charred. Most of the vehicle was completely ash. Just the car frame and the chair backs were left,” Tripam said. “The smells of gas and burnt rubber were everywhere.”

The abandoned car crashed through the wall of one of the examination rooms. The hood of the vehicle punctured the wall prior to catching fire.

“We are so fortunate that we did not have any patients inside at the time. If someone (would have been) in the chair, we may have lost them. We are very fortunate,” Tripam said.

After authorities cleared the structure, Tripam and the Comfort Dental staff had to wash the crash site, dry the area and disinfect the building.

“Fortunately none of our equipment was damaged. My staff was fantastic in helping clean, and our patients were very understanding,” Tripam said.

Patients who had appointments on Saturday were referred to other Comfort Dental locations in Fort Collins. The Comfort Dental on Lemay was open for business by Monday.

“All I can say is thank you (for) the rapid action by the police and Poudre Fire Authority. They were on top of their game and kept our building from going up (in flames),” Tripam said.

Police are now searching for both the owner of the vehicle, and those who may have been near the scene.

Fort Collins Police are requesting that anyone with information, or that was a witness to the incident, or anyone that took still pictures or video of any part of the incident (to) contact Det. Mike Avrech at (970) 221-6653.

Original

According to a news release from Fort Collins Police Services sent at approximately 12:22 p.m. Saturday, FCPS is investigating a single vehicle accident and fire at a Comfort Dental office in the 900 block of South Lemay Avenue.

“Fort Collins Police patrol officers were notified by a citizen of a vehicle on fire in the 900 block of South Lemay Avenue on the morning of June 29, 2013 at approximately 2:03 a.m. When the officers arrived, they found that a blue Saturn sedan had crashed through the front of the Comfort Dental office causing significant damage to the structure. They found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames,” the release stated.

Police found no occupants inside the vehicle and the driver was not located. Poudre Fire Authority responded and extinguished the fire. Police had been unable to contact the registered owner of the vehicle at the time of the release.

“When police officers first arrived, several witnesses were in the area and some were taking photos and/or video. By the time that officers had checked for occupants in the vehicle, the witnesses had left the scene,” the release stated.

Fort Collins Police are requesting that anyone with information or that was a witness to the incident or anyone that took still pictures or video of any part of the incident contact Det. Mike Avrech at 221-6653.

 This story is developing. Stay with the Collegian as we get more information.