By Keith Coffman
NORTHGLENN, Colo. (Reuters) - A Colorado pilot who walked away unhurt after his single-engine plane crashed into a suburban Denver house had once owned the stricken dwelling, in what police and the pilot's employer said on Tuesday appeared to be a mere coincidence.
The pilot, 52-year-old Brian Veatch, lost power while towing an advertising banner in his Piper Pawnee crop-duster over a residential neighborhood in the town of Northglenn on Monday and crashed into the rear of a two-story house.
The impact ignited a fire and left a gaping hole in the back of the ranch-style residence, with the tail of the plane protruding from the structure.
Veatch, who is also a firefighter in another jurisdiction, emerged from the wreck unscathed and grabbed a garden hose to help extinguish the flames. He was later taken to a hospital for observation as a precaution.
The fire was quickly doused. No one was home at the time of accident, and two dogs inside survived, police spokesman Sergeant Ron Haralson said.
Property records from the Adams county assessor's office show that Veatch bought the house in the fall of 2000 and sold it in May 2003.
Haralson said the crash appeared to be a "one-in-a-million" case of serendipity.
"Until we know otherwise, that's what we'll look at it as," he said, adding there was no evidence of any connection between Veatch and the current owners of the house, identified through property records as Matthew Richardson and Jennifer Monroe.
Tom Mace, owner of the aerial banner company that employed Veatch, Drag 'n' Fly, said his previous ownership of the house was "absolutely coincidental," and that Veatch told him he had not been aware it was his former home at the time of the crash.
Richardson and Monroe stood across the street from their home with other onlookers on Tuesday as reporters spoke to Mace, but the pair declined to talk to the media.
Mace said Veatch returned to his firefighting job on Tuesday. He had been contracted by Drag 'n' Fly to tow a Geico insurance banner over Coors Field, home stadium of the Colorado Rockies, during a game against the Texas Rangers on Monday.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Northglenn, Colo.; Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)