A three-story, 130 unit apartment complex near the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs, Colorado is being allowed to burn itself out because fire officials say it is too dangerous to try to go inside. Parts of the roof have collapsed, and firefighters can only fight the fire defensively until it burns out. Relatives and friends of residents of the Castle West Apartments, located in the 3700 block of East Uintah north of the Citadel Mall, may call 632-3563 for more information.
Flames were still visible 10 hours after the fire was first reported around 1:00 am this morning. The fire, which brought all 19 trucks located in the Colorado Springs area, as well as over 120 firefighters, to the scene, quickly spread throughout the complex. Although firemen pulled at least 62 residents from windows, others were seen jumping or throwing other people, including children, out of windows.
The majority of injuries reported at area hospitals were from smoke inhalation, sprained ankles and other broken bones and minor injuries. One firefighter was also treated for minor injuries. No deaths have been reported, but officials must wait until the fire burns itself out before they can enter the building to make sure everyone got out safely. First indications are that the fire was deliberately set, and Federal arson investigators will be joining the investigation.
Firefighting and rescue efforts were hampered by the extreme cold, as temperatures hovered around 8 degrees and water from the hoses froze into sheets of ice.
The apartment complex, which was estimated to be worth $4.8 million, is most likely a total loss. It was built in 1969 and was comprised of modest 1 to 3 bedroom apartments. The property management company that managed the complex is offering to move residents into another 29 apartment complex it owns, offering free rent for January and giving $100 grocery gift cards to evacuees.
A pastor at the nearby Springs of Life Church heard the fire trucks and noise from the fire and opened his church, which was turned into an emergency shelter by the Red Cross. The Red Cross has asked that anyone wishing to make a monetary donation do so by going to the Red Cross offices at 1040 South 8th Street. They ask that you do not bring donations to the fire scene, and that you do not bring donations other than money at this time. You may also make a donation by calling the United Way’s “211 Hotline” in Colorado.
- KKTV – Channel 11 Colorado Springs website
- Colorado Springs Gazette Website
- CBS4- Denver Website