4 employees injured after explosion, fire at Hartman Brothers building in downtown Montrose

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Posted at 3:54 PM, Apr 20, 2022

MONTROSE, Colo. — An explosion and fire at the Hartman Brothers building in downtown Montrose Wednesday afternoon injured four employees, one critically, and prompted authorities to evacuate several blocks in the area.

The Montrose Police Department said an evacuation order was issued for residents and businesses from the 500 block of Main Street to the 700 block of Main Street. The order was lifted later in the day.

The explosion and fire occurred in the back of the Hartman Brothers building, a medical supply company, at the corner of North 1st Street and Park Avenue around 3 p.m. Fire crews took additional precautions due to the presence of bottled oxygen and other flammable gasses at the facility.

Four employees were transported to Montrose Regional Health, according to Montrose Fire Chief Tad Rowan. Two are in good condition, one is fair and the fourth is in critical condition, the fire district said.

Fire officials said the fire was limited to the Hartman Brothers building. The extent of damage to the structure is not known. However, crews were able to keep additional gas tanks safe from explosion, which limited the damage, according to the fire district.

“We lost a building, but we saved a block,” said Rowan. “I am proud of the quick work of our responders in immediately providing protection to the other flammable gases on site. This plan of attack limited the damage to the structure and the area. Our hearts go out to the individuals impacted by today’s incident, and to our community for the fire damage to a historic downtown building. I am grateful to our local and regional agencies that assisted with today’s response.”

Crews are still cleaning up hotspots. The 500 block of North First Avenue will remain closed until further notice, according to the fire district.

The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation.