Thursday, January 26, 2017

STAPLETON - 1990

Photo: Denver Fire Dept.

On Nov. 25-26, 1990, Denver firefighters battled flames at a United Airlines jet fuel depot near Stapleton International Airport for 53 hours.

Dark clouds from the blaze
drifted over the city and health officials warned people with respiratory problems to remain indoors.

About a quarter of the 13 million gallons of jet fuel at the depot went up in flames that reached as high as 500 feet.

"It was a monster," Denver Fire Department spokesman Mike McNeill said.

Temperatures reached 3,500F.

The fire was finally "snuffed out" when Continental Airlines, which owned tanks near the United tanks, hired the private oil well firefighting company Boots & Coots of Texas.

Denver Fire Chief Richard Gonzales said: "The reality is this kind of thing doesn't happen very often and there are very few people who do it on a regular basis."

Boots & Coots president Dwight Williams likened his specialty to "riding bad horses.

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