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.

Friday, April 26, 2019

I-70 INFERNO

Photo: West Metro Fire
Photo: Channel 7
Photo: Channel 4

Photo: West Metro Fire
Photo: Colorado State Patrol

Photo: West Metro Fire

On April 24, 2019, West Metro firefighters responded to a fiery and fatal 28-vehicle pileup on I-70 west of Denver.

Four people died in the wreckage as vehicle fuel tanks burst on the interstate highway at Colorado Mills Parkway in Lakewood. "It was crash, crash, crash and explosion, explosion, explosion,"  said 
John Romero, a police spokesman quoted by the Associated Press.

Several other people were injured, including a firefighter hit by debris.

Police said a speeding flatbed truck hauling lumber plowed into slowing traffic, setting off the catastrophic chain reaction.

The truck driver was charged with vehicular homicide.

Neighboring fire departments provided assistance to West Metro. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

BROADMOOR CASINO - 1897

Colorado Springs, July 19th. At 3 o’clock this morning lightning struck the beautiful Broadmoor Casino, near Cheyenne canon, starting fire which completely destroyed the building, and causing a loss of nearly $50,000. The magnificent new hotel adjoining was saved. The building was erected six years ago. It was two stories high, two hundred feet long and seventy-five feet deep.
Grand Junction Sentinel - July 1897

Monday, February 4, 2019

BUTTE - 1914

On June 23, 1914, the Western Federation of Miners Hall at Butte, Montana, was destroyed by dynamite during labor riots.

TRINIDAD


Photo: City of Trinidad
The Trinidad, Colorado, Fire Department was established in 1891.

STANDOFF - 2019

OFFICERS DOWN: On Jan. 27, 2019, a gunman wounded two Denver police officers responding to a 911 call for ``shots fired'' near 6th Avenue and Inca Street. A hours-long standoff led to a house fire and the death of the gunman by suicide. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

ARSON COLD CASE - 1980

Arson investigator and police with remains of fire victim
Ernest Peterson



TRIPLE HOMICIDE: On Aug. 12, 1980, an arson fire killed Ernest Peterson, John F. Simmons and Thaddeus Hosey at the Jefferson Hotel at 1529 Champa St. in downtown Denver.
``Upon arrival, the building was engulfed in flames,'' according to the Denver Police Department. Decades later the DPD Cold Case Unit is still seeking the arsonist. Contact DPD at 720-913-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

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