Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

RUNS & WORKERS - 2018



On Nov. 16, 2018, a fire and explosion rocked the Heather Gardens adult community in Aurora, Colorado, killing a resident. A firefighter and another person
 were injured. “Our hearts go out to the many residents who are impacted by this tragedy,'' Aurora Fire Chief Fernando Gray Sr. said.

Photo: Denver International Airport
On Nov. 17, 2018, United Airlines Flight 1941 from Tucson, Arizona, went off a taxiway after landing at Denver International Airport. No injuries reported.


On July 11, 2018, fire swept a recycling plant near Commerce City, Colorado. Two firefighters were injured. Crews were on the scene at Evraz Recycling at 5601 York Street in unincorporated Adams County for about 10 hours.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

COLORADO TASK FORCE 1


Photo: FEMA
Colorado Task Force 1 at World Trade Center in September 2001

West
 Metro Fire Rescue is the sponsoring agency for the Colorado Task Force 1 (CO-TF1), Urban Search and Rescue. The task force is a Colorado-based team under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The task force has approximately 200 highly trained members, that include firefighters, paramedics, physicians, structural engineers, hazardous materials technicians, heavy rigging specialists and canine handlers. The Task Force must be totally self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of a deployment.

CO-TF1 responds to disasters around the country to find and rescue people who are trapped in urban settings; like building collapses. The task force is made up of personnel from 28 public and private agencies in Colorado. 

Task force members have responded to the collapse of the World Trade Center during 9/11, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

OLD STAGE FIRE - 2009

Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA

Four Mile Fire District apparatus mopping up at the Old Stage Fire near Boulder, Colorado, on Jan. 8, 2009. The International WorkStar tanker was acquired 
through a FEMA grant.

PUEBLO - 1921



Photos: Private Collections 

June 3, 1921


``As the torrential rains fell, the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek quickly began to swell, reaching over 15 feet in some areas before they began to recede. Within two hours from the start of the storm, the entire wholesale district and a greater part of the business district of Pueblo were flooded with water 10 feet deep.

``The entire Arkansas Valley, from 30 miles west of Pueblo to the Colorado–Kansas state line, was severely impacted. Hundreds of people died, with some death toll estimates as high as 1,500. The flood destroyed almost all of the downtown Pueblo area and decimated the city.
``Once the floodwaters receded, the immense damage became all the more visible. The flood, which covered over 300 square miles, carried away over 600 homes and caused upwards of $25 million in damage at the time. By today’s standards, that number would likely be $300 million or more. Railroad passenger coaches and freight cars were swept away in every direction or smashed into kindling.

``A fire even broke out in a lumberyard and burning lumber was carried throughout the city’s streets by the flood. The floodwaters also carried away entire buildings and businesses. Many of the dead were likely carried far down river and never recovered.''

National Centers for Environmental Information

EMERSON McKINNON

Denver police officer Emerson L. McKinnon died May 20, 1919, of injuries sustained at a fire six days earlier at the city shops. McKinnon fell into an elevator shaft as he helped firefighters advance a hose line, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Monday, August 6, 2018

SKYWEST 5869

Photo: qz.com - Courtesy of Jeanette Jackus
On July 2, 2018, SkyWest Flight 5869 landed at Denver International Airport with an engine ablaze. Everyone was safely evacuated. ``The fire was large enough that the controllers in the airport control tower could see it and radioed the pilots to alert them,'' according to Kevin Delaney, editor of the website Quartz, who was aboard the flight. The regional jet carried 59 passengers and a crew of four. SkyWest operated the flight for United Air Lines.

Friday, July 6, 2018

WILDFIRES - 2018

Spring Creek Fire in Castilla and Las Animas counties


Mutual aid from Denver at Lake Chri
stine Fire near Basalt


416 Fire near Durango

Friday, June 29, 2018

416 FIRE CUB

Photo: Denver Channel
Firefighters rescued an injured bear cub from the 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado in June 2o18. The cub, who was found wandering alone, suffered burns to her feet.

Monday, June 25, 2018

BRIGHTON - 2017

Photo: Brighton Fire
On June 2, 2017, a fire destroyed a commercial building on North Main Street in Brighton, Colorado, and threatened nearby structures.  “It was a defensive fight when they saw how much heat and smoke they had,” Brighton Fire Chief Mark Bodane told CBS4.

ESTES PARK - 2018



On June 23, 2018, fire damaged the main building at Marys Lake Lodge in Estes Park. About 250 people - including a wedding party - were safely evacuated. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

3RD ALARM - 2018

UPDATED JUNE 2018
Photo: Denver Fire. Dept.



Photo: Denver Fire Dept.
It was fast and furious. A firestorm.
On March 7, 2018, giant flames devoured a construction project near downtown Denver, forcing trapped workers to jump for their lives.
The remains of two others - identified by The Denver Post as Roberto Flores Prieto, 29 and Dustin Peterson, 37 - were found in the rubble.  The three-alarm inferno 
at 1833 Emerson St. injured six others, damaged 13 buildings and destroyed about 30 vehicles, the Post reported.

``I went out on my porch and it felt like I was next to the sun,'' said Kristen Cohen, who lives nearby.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

TANKER ABLAZE - 2017

South Metro Fire Rescue on I-25 near the Denver Tech Center on May 31, 2017.

MONTANA BANK - 1944



Photos: helenahistory.org

It was a close call for firefighters in Helena, Montana, on Jan. 9, 1944, when a blaze at the Montana National Bank building led to an explosion and collapse.

The firefighters survived but two women residing in a fourth-floor apartment died and their bodies were recovered from the rubble, according to website helenahistory.org.

Eight people were injured, including two firefighters, according to the Independent Record.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

FIRESTONE - 2017





On April 17, 2017, an abandoned oil and gas pipeline exploded in Firestone, Colorado - leveling a home and claiming two lives. 

The blast illustrated the dangers of living in proximity to drilling sites.


Investigators determined odorless gas from a severed oil and gas entered the basement through a French drain and sump pit.

Though abandoned, the 1-inch line hadn't been
disconnected from its wellhead and capped, according to news reports.

"It was an unusual and tragic set of circumstances," said Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District Chief Ted Poszywak, quoted by the Times-Call newspaper.

The 24-year-old line, which was cut before the development of the Oak Meadows subdivision, was
7 feet beneath the surface and 6 feet from the foundation.

The wellhead was about 170 feet from the home.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

COMMERCE CITY - 1978

Photo: Getty Images

On Oct. 3, 1978, disaster struck a refinery on the outskirts of Denver, claiming three lives.

Commerce City, Colo. (UPI) -- The night shift was in its final hours at the Continental Oil Co. refinery and Gary Thomas glanced at his watch, noting the time was 6:33 a.m. MDT.


Then the explosion came, louder than anything Thomas ever had heard.


Flames and black smoke billowed into the sky. Two workers at the plant were dead beneath the debris, a third was left dying and another nine were injured.


Thomas reacted with his only purpose to get away from the refinery.


"I started running," Thomas said. "There was one massive explosion."


Flames shot 60 feet above blackened refinery stacks. Gas fumes leaking from newly installed equipment had ignited in a ball of fire, shattering windows in the industrial suburb north of Denver and shaking homes many miles away.


Tuesday's explosion registered 3.5 on the Richter scale at the Regis College seismological observatory in Denver, and 1.5 at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden.


Three Conoco employees -- STEVE FRENCH, 24, DAVID HOBBS, 32, and RON DeHERRERA 
-- died in the explosion, said Thomas, the plant personnel manager. Nine other men suffered injuries: six remained at Denver hospitals today in conditions varying from serious to satisfactory.

Hundreds of firefighters from throughout the Denver area, arriving before the 6:56 a.m. sunrise brought the fire under control in three hours.


Police received an anonymous telephone call that the explosion was caused by a bomb, but a search found no device and police discounted the report.


Plant manager Robert Alexander said the explosion occurred in a polymerization unit at the refinery that had been in operation only two weeks. He said the plant was 25 percent destroyed and estimated damage at up to $5 million.


Employees in the unit, which converts petroleum into gasoline, propane and butane, had reported mechanical trouble during the night and had called in a company fire engine as a precaution. Thirteen men were at the plant when the explosion occurred, Alexander said.


"There was a release of hydrocarbon vapor, a propane and butane mixture, in the unit and it ignited," said Alexander. "What ignited the vapor, I don't know."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SMOKEY BEAR

A bear cub sought refuge in a tree during a forest fire in the mountains of New Mexico in 1950 and the firefighters who found the cub and named him Smokey.

LARAMIE - 1948





On April 14, 1948, fire leveled a downtown block in Laramie, Wyoming.

At the height of the blaze, flames were visible for miles.

 
The Associated Press reported:

A fast spreading fire crackled through an entire business block early today in the downtown section of Laramie, site of the University of Wyoming.

Fifteen of 30 structures were unofficially reported destroyed by flames.


Discovered about 2 o'clock (MST) this morning, the flames were reported under control but not out three hours after they were discovered in the four-story brick W. H. Holliday Building.


Fire departments sped to Laramie from Cheyenne, Rawlins and Fort Francis E. Warren, in Wyoming, and Fort Collins, Colo., to help overwhelmed Laramie firemen and volunteers battle the blaze.


Troops from Fort Warren, 50 miles east of here at Cheyenne, National Guard members and Wyoming University ROTC students were pressed into service to prevent looting.


There were no early reports of casualties. Fifteen or 20 families lived in hotels in the flaming area. The Red Cross arranged to house them in a university 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

CONTINENTAL 1713 CRASH - 1987

Photo: photosourcewest

By Vinny Del Giudice

On Nov. 15, 1987, Continental Airlines Flight 1713 crashed as it departed 
Denver's Stapleton International Airport
 in a snowstorm, killing 28 people and injuring 54 others.

It was Stapleton's deadliest accident.

Airport fire stations No. 1 and No. 2 were alerted to the crash by the control tower at 2:16 p.m. and responded with five crash trucks and 12 firefighters,  according to the National Transportation Safety Board report on the accident.


A full first alarm for city stations was transmitted at 2:21 p.m., followed by a second alarm at 2:33 p.m. and a third alarm at 3 p.m, the NTSB said, with Aurora, Sable Altura, Glendale and Thornton providing mutual aid.

``The plane skidded out of control for about a quarter of a mile before sliding off the runway northeast of the main terminal'' and ''flipped onto its back and broke into three pieces,'' The New York Times reported. 

``The whole fuselage twisted like a chicken whose neck was wrung,'' said Richard Boulware, an airport official quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Firefighters worked for 2 1/2 hours to free survivors from the wreckage of the DC-9 jetliner after extinguishing several fires.

"They were digging them out row by row," said Joe Cipri, a firefighter quoted by the Associated Press. "Some were screaming, but most people were real calm - just waiting their turns to get out." One victim yelled "Get me out of here" but was dead by the time firefighters reached him, Cipri said.

The NTSB said rescuers worked to reach 18-20 victims near the broken left wing and used wooden cribbing and a forklift  to support the intact right wing, which as full of fuel. Firefighter Rory Moore said it was "a horrible feeling - a helpless feeling" trying to reach so many people.

Investigators concluded icing and crew error contributed to the crash of Flight 1713, which was bound for Boise, Idaho. The pilot and co-pilot were among the dead and it wasn't clear if the aircraft left the ground. 
"If it got off, it was not far enough for it to be detected by radar," said Fred Farrar, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Survivor  Robert Linck told People Magazine:

``Everything was smooth until we lifted off, then the plane started shaking violently. There was an explosion, and a ball of fire shot up through the floor, sheer white heat, enveloping the two rows ahead of me. I said, ‘I think we’ve had it.’ I tried to stand up, get away from the flames. That’s how I got the [second-degree] burns on my hands. I heard three explosions, then the lights went out and people started screaming. First the right wing dropped, and then the left wing dropped. I think the pilot over-corrected to the left. The plane flipped.


``In that last blinding second before we hit, I only thought one thing: I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. We smacked the ground with an impact so severe—I’ve been hit hard playing football but never like that. In the minutes after, there was not a single sound. It was utterly silent and totally black. That, believe me, was frightening. I was lying flat on my chest and I couldn’t see a thing. I wondered if that fireball had set the plane on fire, if I’d be burned to death. Then somebody, a passenger or a ground crewman, came through and said not to panic, there was no fire.''

Another survivor  recalled the impact.

``
The metal was starting to tear apart. I thought about a crash in Reno where some kid survived because he was thrown from the plane still in his seat,'' said Douglas Self , quoted by the Los Angeles Times. ``The next thing I remember, I was in the field. I was in my chair. There were two chairs intact. I was sort of on my side, and the man in the other chair was over my shoulder.

``When I went to move him, I realized he was too light - that all of him wasn't there anymore. He was pretty torn up. Dead,'' Self said. ``
Then I took off running. But the fog and the snow were so bad, I couldn't see the lights to the runway. Then I heard a sound and saw a blond girl about 13 or 14 years old. I just tried to keep her calm. She kept asking: 'Where are we?' ''

Other major incidents:

On Nov. 1, 1955, a bomb blast tore through 
United Airlines Flight 629, bound for Portland  from Stapleton. The DC-6 aircraft crashed near Longmont,  killing all 44 aboard.

On July 11, 1961, United Airlines Flight 85 veered off a runway on landing and burst into flames. Seventeen of the 122 aboard died. The driver of a vehicle struck by the DC-8 also died.

On Oct. 31, 1969, a hijacker commandeered TWA Flight 85 from Los Angeles to San Francisco and the aircraft landed in Denver where all the passengers and three flight attendants were released. The flight continued onto Rome by way of New York, Bangor and Shannon, Ireland.

On Aug. 7, 1975, windshear caused Continental Airlines Flight 426,
 a Boeing 727 bound for Wichita, to crash after climbing to 100 feet. There were no deaths.

On Nov. 16, 1976, a Texas International DC-9 bound for Houston crashed on takeoff . Of the 81 passengers and 5 crew, 14 were injured. There were no fatalities.

Monday, January 1, 2018

DENVER FIRE STATIONS

Fire Station No. 18
Photo: denver.gov

1 - Downtown
745 W. Colfax Ave.
Engine 1, Tower 1, Chief 2, Collapse Rescue, Water Rescue

2 - Gateway (Pena Blvd. corridor)
5300 Memphis St.
Truck 2, Chief 5

3 - Five Points
2500 Washington St.
Engine 3

4 - Lodo (Lower Downtown)
1890 Lawrence St.
Truck 4

5 - City of Glendale
999 South Clermont St., Glendale
Engine 5

6 - Auraria (near Lodo)
1300 Blake St.
Engine 6, Hamer 1 (Hazmat)

7 - Highland (North Denver)
2195 West 38th Ave.
Engine 7

8 - Capitol Hill
1616 Park Ave.
Engine 8, Truck 8

9 - Globeville
4400 Brighton Blvd.
Engine 9, Tower 9

10 - Cole (Park Hill)
3200 Steele St.
Engine 10

11 -  Baker (Broadway area)
40 West 2nd Ave.
Engine 11, Rescue 1

12 - Highlands
2575 Federal Blvd.
Engine 12, Truck 12, Chief 6

13 - Hampden (Southeast)
3683 South Yosemite St.
Engine 13

14 - Montclair (East)
1426 Oneida St.
Engine 14

15 - Congress Park/City Park
1375 Harrison St.
Engine 15, Tower 15, Chief 4

16 - University of Denver area
1601 S. Ogden St.
Engine 16, Truck 16, Chief 3

17 - Berkeley (Northwest)
4500 Tennyson St.
Engine 17

18 - Lowry
8701 East Alameda Ave.
Engine 18

19 - Hilltop
300 South Ivy St.
Engine 19, Truck 19
 

20 - Barnum
501 Knox Ct.
Engine 20

21 - Washington Park
1580 East Virginia Ave.
Engine 21

22 - Hampden (Southeast)
3530 South Monaco Parkway
Engine 22, Tower 22

23 - Westwood
850 South Federal Blvd.
Engine 23, Truck 23

24 - University Hills (South)
2695 South Colorado Blvd.
Engine 24

25 - Harvey Park (Southwest)
2504 South Raleigh St.
Engine 25

26 - Stapleton
7934 Martin Luther King Blvd
Engine 26, Truck 26, Rescue 2

27 - Montebello
12927 East Albrook Dr.
Engine 27, Tower 27

28 - Fort Logan (Southwest)
4306 South Wolff St.
Engine 28, Truck 28

29 - Green Valley Ranch (Far East)
4800 Himalaya Way
Engine 29


30 - Grant Ranch (Southwest)
4898 South Dudley St.
Engine 30

31 - Denver International Airport (Terminal area)

32 - DIA (North)


33 - DIA (ARFF 3 - East)

34 - DIA (ARFF 4 - Runway 16/34)

35 - DIA (Pena Blvd. corridor)
25365 East 75th Ave.
Engine 35

36 - City of Sheridan
4101 South Federal Blvd., Sheridan
Engine 36

37 - Englewood

555 West Jefferson Ave., Englewood
Engine 37

38 - Englewood
4830 South Acoma St., Englewood
Truck 38

39 - Northfield
Proposed 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

PHIPPS AUDITORIUM - 1961

On Nov. 2, 1961, a two-alarm blaze gutted the interior of the Phipps Auditorium in Denver City Park and smoke from the fire caused damage to the adjacent Museum of Natural History.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DENARGO MARKET - 1971



Photos: Denver Public Library 

On July 7, 1971, fire destroyed the Denargo Market, a produce warehouse in Denver.

``
Firefighters were hampered by the lack of fire hydrants in the area and a loss of water pressure,'' according to Denver Public Library researcher James Rogers.

Firefighters contended with other hazards, including two railroad tank cars filled with carbon dioxide, 50 kegs of black powder in a nearby property and 13,000 volt power lines, according to Rogers.


The 1971 inferno was the second major blaze to strike the market, the first occurring Dec. 16, 1952.

Monday, July 31, 2017

FORT COLLINS FLOOD

Photo: City of Fort Collins

On July 28, 1997, rains
lifted Spring Creek over its bank, sending a flash flood crashing into Fort Collins.

Five people died, 50 others were injured and 200
 homes were lost.

"Chaos. It was a lot of chaos," said Poudre Fire Authority Chief Tom DeMint, quoted on the 20th anniversary of the flood by Fox 31 Denver.


Four of the deaths occurred in a mobile home park on College Avenue, 
according to the Colorado Encyclopedia. The fifth occurred in a residential neighborhood.

Poudre Fire Authority Captain Steve Fleming described the mayhem to the
Coloradoan newspaper:

``We had campers and propane cylinders; there was a trailer on fire, explosions at the laundromat, train derailment, people yelling for help, oil in the water ... and all of it happened within 30 minutes.''


Damage was estimated at $200 million.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7TH STREET FIRE


Photo: Daily Sentinel

On April 9, 1974, wind-whipped flames swept the Seventh Street industrial area of Grand Junction, Colorado, destroying Mesa Feed and Farm Supply, H&M Electric and the Daily Sentinel printing plant, which was packed with rolls of newsprint.

A lumber yard also burned.

Embers drifted for blocks, setting alight the American Linen Co. on Ninth Street, according to a report in the Daily Sentinel marking the 30th anniversary of the fire.

Retired firefighter Mike Page said "red hot" pieces of tin broke loose as flames engulfed Mesa Feed while smoke reduced visibility.

``
The wind was so strong it was blowing the smoke horizontal,'' Page recalled in an interview with the Daily Sentinel ``When we arrived at the scene and crossed the railroad tracks, we couldn’t see because of the smoke.''

Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze.

The fire broke out on the same site as a 
Nov. 3, 1898 fire that destroyed the Grand Junction Milling and Elevator Co.

Friday, February 3, 2017

RUNS & WORKERS

Photo: Greeley Fire Dept.
Island Grove grandstand, Greeley - 1977


Photo: Poudre Valley Fire Authority
Fire in downtown Fort Collins, circa 1970s or 1980s


Photos: Wyoming State Archives
16th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, date unknown, left. Cheyenne High School, Aug. 6, 1963, right.