AURORA, Colo. – Crews on Monday were unable to enter the still-burning remains of a large apartment complex under construction that caught fire sending a large plume of smoke over the Denver skyline on Saturday.
The 5-alarm fire, first reported early Saturday afternoon, devastated the construction site near E. Colfax Avenue and Peoria street.
There were no injuries reported.
Lt. Carlos Oropeza, Aurora Fire Rescue (AFR) Public Information Officer, said on Monday crews are still battling active pockets of fire at the site and there is a “significant collapse hazard.”
Nearby streets are expected to remain closed down for the foreseeable future with no timeline for when they may reopen.
“We’ve commenced drone operations to help us with some of the operational concerns, looking for hot spots, taking some thermal cameras to identify where we might need to put more water,” said Oropeza.
Nearby businesses remained without utilities, including water, power and gas, which were shut off during the fire.
Oropeza said while a preliminary investigation is underway to determine a cause, extensive damage and a high potential for collapse have so far hindered crews from safely entering the remains to probe the fire’s cause.
“When a building is being constructed, there’s no drywall, no doors that are shut there, plenty of open voids and fire is just going to get inside,” said Oropeza.
Saturday’s large blaze was the second fire in two days in Aurora that damaged an apartment construction site.
In the early morning hours of December 14, five units of a newly-constructed apartment building were destroyed by fire near the 7300 block of S. Addison Court in Aurora.
That site was vacant and there were no injuries, according to AFR.
Asked whether there was any indication Saturday’s fire was in any way connected to the earlier blaze, Oropeza said: “All we can tell you for certain is both buildings were under construction, we don’t have any other information other than the Addison Court fire is being investigated as potentially criminal.”
Oropeza said construction crews were on the site Saturday when the fire began and were able to quickly evacuate.
The smoke plume was visible for miles triggering an overwhelming amount of 911 calls on Saturday.
A spokesperson with Grubb Properties, which owns Link Apartments Fitz, said they will work with authorities in the investigation.
AFR, which said the fire appeared to initially burn on the fifth floor before rapidly spreading, expected the investigation into the cause of the fire to take a few weeks.