One Dead in Massive Blaze in Uptown

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Thiagarajah
This story has been updated to reflect new information about the fire.

A hundred firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at a construction site at 1899 Emerson Street in Uptown that broke out Wednesday afternoon, and firefighters are still tracking down a missing person. One fatality has been reported, officials say.

Dr. Chris Thiagarajah of Cosmetic & Reconstructive Oculoplastic Surgery next door says the office noticed the fire around noon and immediately evacuated. A patient had just come out of surgery when they evacuated.

"It gives you healthy respect for how quickly a fire could grow out of control," he says.

It's unknown if the missing persons are construction workers or if they were from nearby buildings that were affected by the fire.

Six people were reported to have injuries; four suffered from smoke inhalation, one firefighter suffered minor injuries and one person suffered critical injuries, officials say. All are being treated at Denver Health.

"When the fire started, it actually took off so quickly that it compromised the safety of a number of individuals inside the building," says Captain Greg Pixley at Denver Fire.

The fire, which is suspected to have broken out on the third floor of the building, quickly gained steam and extended 200 feet in the air with heat that could be felt from 300 feet away. Construction workers on the site were reported to have jumped from the upper floors to save themselves from the fire.

The building itself was a total loss, and nearby structures were damaged or are still battling an active fire. Forty cars were damaged by the fire.

Officials anticipate they will work the scene into the night and are urging anyone who was near 18th, 19th, Emerson and Clarkson streets to report what they may have seen to help find the missing persons. An evacuation center has been established at the St. Charles Recreation Center, 3777 North Lafayette Street, for anyone impacted by the evacuation area surrounding the fire. The center will be open throughout the night and can serve 580 people. Bring an ID, essential documents, cash, a flashlight, books, enough food, and supplies for babies and pets.

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