Trails of smoke spread throughout parts of the metro Denver area the morning of June 28 due to a fire in Englewood that began June 27 at a Waste Management facility at 2400 W. Union Ave. that is still burning.
The Denver Fire Department received reports of the fire at approximately 5:39 p.m. June 27, said Greg Pixley, a Denver Fire Department public information officer and captain.
The fire impacted two structures and was able to spread because of wind, Pixley said. He said the wind created the opportunity for the fire to grow and to involve other trash, and that trash started to overwhelm the facilities. The fire also affected high tension power lines, Pixley said.
“Those power lines complicated the fire attack. They actually failed and dropped down on top of vehicles,” Pixley said, saying the powerline dropped during the initial stages of the fire. “That’s dangerous.”
The Denver Fire Department is currently working with Xcel Energy to address the power lines, Pixley said. The fire department relies on Xcel Energy to address electrical energy, he said, saying the amount of energy going through wires is significant. Another issue Xcel Energy is trying to address is how to shut down the power lines being affected by the fire without shutting off power elsewhere.
“Those power lines are feeding some type of electrical grid throughout either Colorado or maybe another state,” Pixley said. “They’re going to have to work to ensure that those people that are receiving the power are not without power…once they stop it here.”
As of 10:15 a.m. on June 28, the fire continues to burn. “It’s just deep-seated in the trash piles, and it’s just going to continue to burn until we can get water into all areas of that,” Pixley said.
The fire department will have to get front-end loaders to the area to start the move the trash around in order to get water on all 360 degrees of each smoldering piece of trash, Pixley said, because only putting water on top will not extinguish the fire on the bottom. Also, certain types of plastics and materials will not allow water to soak through, so it will take some time to get water intermixed throughout the materials that are burning, he said.
The fire has resulted in two injuries, thus far. One worker was injured and evaluated by Denver Health Paramedics, either prior to or during the arrival of the Denver Fire Department, Pixley said. The status of that worker is unknown, he said. The only other reported injury so far was a twisted knee by one of the firefighters operating at the scene.
For people in the surrounding area, smoke is one of the primary concerns.
“The weather patterns, they create the possibility for smoke to hover or to sit in certain areas,” Pixley said. “People that are in the area where smoke is affecting their livelihood, they want to stay inside and remove themselves from the smoke.”
It is important that if residents suspect someone may be having a medical issue, or if they see a sign of another fire or emergency, to call 911, Pixley said. “We want people to do what they feel is necessary to increase and to ensure their safety.”