Photo: Denver Public Library
On Nov. 23, 1983, fire ravaged the University Hills Shopping Center, the first 5-alarm blaze in Denver Fire Department history.
Flames spread through suspended ceilings and reached more than a dozen stores, many stocked for the holiday shopping season.
Other business sustained smoke damage.
Two of the 150 firefighters at the scene were injured.
Denver Fire Chief Myrle Wise called the blaze "one of the worst" in his 40-year career.
Water from fire engines and aerial ladders turned to ice in near-zero temperatures.
Thirty-five of the city's 41 piece of fire apparatus attended the fire.
According to a Facebook post by Assistant Fire Gregory Taft, police were first on the scene to investigate a burglar alarm and encountered smoke.
The first alarm was transmitted at 12:25 a.m., with Engine 24 - located across from the mall - first due.
Engine 24 and Engine 22 entered the front doors of Yarbro Drug with 3 hose lines while Truck 22's crew climbed to the roof and reported heavy fire venting around air handling equipment and the roof sinking by about a foot, Taft wrote.
A special call followed at 12:31 a.m. for an additional engine and truck, with fire dispatchers adding Squad 1 to the assignment.
The 2nd alarm was struck at 12:40 a.m.
The 3rd Alarm at 1:00 a.m.
The 4th Alarm at 1:15 a.m.
Special calls were made between 1:24 a.m. and 2:53 am.
Chief Wise declared the 5th Alarm at 3:15 a.m.
Off-duty firefighters were called back to cover the city.