WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — The third construction fire in the last week cropped up at a Wheat Ridge apartment complex Tuesday morning. It started after rags that had been used for staining spontaneously combusted, West Metro Fire Rescue found.
The flames were contained to one unit on the first floor of the building at W. 38th Ave. and Upham Street, West Metro Fire Rescue posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. The building is designed with commercial space on the first floor and apartments above. The fire started in one of the lower floor commercial spaces that had construction materials stored inside, West Metro Fire Rescue said.
WMFR on scene of a structure fire in a building under construction at 38th Ave. & Upham in Wheat Ridge. The fire was contained to one unit on the first floor. There is limited smoke damage throughout the rest of the building. Cause of the fire is under investigation. pic.twitter.com/sRGYSmgGZU— WestMetroFire (@WestMetroFire) December 19, 2023
There was smoke damage to the rest of the building, according to West Metro Fire Rescue.
The fire was an accident and the sprinkler system was active.
But when oily rags are left in a pile, they can self-heat to combustion and ignite, West Metro Fire Rescue said.
To avoid a similar incident, West Metro Fire Rescue recommended Coloradans separate rags. Let them dry and place them in a metal can with a lid and add water.
With firefighters working the scene Tuesday, W. 38th Ave. was closed for about an hour.
Wadsworth Boulevard remained open, which is what most of the detoured drivers used to get around the shutdown, Denver7 Traffic Expert Jayson Luber said.
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.
Before that, an Aurora construction site off the intersection of S. Aurora Parkway and S. Addison Court erupted into flames just after midnight last Thursday.