Large fire damages building in Aurora at construction site near CU Anschutz campus

· Dec. 16, 2023, 2:26 pm
A fire burns at a construction site in Aurora near Colfax Avenue and Peoria Street on Saturday, December 16, 2023.A fire burns at a construction site in Aurora near Colfax Avenue and Peoria Street on Saturday, December 16, 2023.Tony Gorman/CPR News
A fire burns at a construction site in Aurora near Colfax Avenue and Peoria Street on Saturday, December 16, 2023.

Updated: Sunday, Dec. 17 at 11:10 a.m.

Aurora Fire and Rescue responded to the report of a structure fire at 12:48 p.m. Saturday. Crews arrived at Colfax and Peoria to a multi-residential home construction site to find the blaze on the fifth floor. 

Aurora Fire spokesperson Andrew Logan says firefighters initially tried to fight the fire, but had to withdraw due to fire conditions.

“From there, the call escalated from a first alarm to a fifth alarm,” Logan said. “This is a defensive operation, which means that there's nobody inside and we are just playing water to put out all the hotspots.”

Adam Duncan and his coworkers were working not too far from the construction site until they heard sirens. 

“I'm thinking somebody probably got shot or something,” said Duncan, who also works in construction. “I looked up and I just see black smoke and man, first thing we did was run over here. Everybody from the job site, to see something like that, that could have been our job site.”

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A firefighter with the South Metro Fire Department closes a hydrant as a five-alarm blaze burns on at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.

An Aurora Police Department spokesperson said on Sunday that they expect the intersection of Colfax and Peoria to be closed for "days" as crews work to fully extinguish the fire. Investigators will then look into the cause and origin of the fire.

The fire didn’t spread to structures in the surrounding area. No injuries were reported. Parsons says the building had been under construction for the last six to eight months. 

This is the second residential home construction site fire that crews had to battle within the last two days. Aurora Fire was called to a three-alarm fire in the 7300 block of S. Addison St at 12:11 a.m. Thursday.

Firefighters quickly suppressed that fire despite limited access to fire hydrants. Aurora Deputy Fire Chief Cain Hills said crews didn’t have that issue with Saturday’s fire.

“Whenever you have multiple apparatus hooked to the same hydrant grid, of course you're going to have water problems because there's not enough water to supply all the apparatus,” Hills said. “So luckily we do have adequate water supply currently and it appears to be working. 

No injuries were reported in the Thursday fire. Five of the 23 units in the building were destroyed. The cause and origin of that fire are also under investigation.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Neighbors watch as firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora. Dec. 16, 2023.

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