Union Station fire: Blazing truck endangers historic overhang

Things have gotten hot at Union Station, where two model-train clubs are scrambling to find new spaces for their train layouts, which have occupied space in the basement for decades. Although both groups had been told in the fall of 2011 that the layouts could remain through the remodeling job, and then reopen along with the transformed building in the summer of 2014 -- they were recently told they needed to move. Permanently. And Union Station got really hot this morning, when a truck in front caught fire, sending flames towards the building's historic ornamentation.

Here's a look at the scene:

At one point, the flames were shooting up forty feet from the burning vehicle, according to bystanders, and scaffolding outside the building caught fire.

Fire trucks from across Denver converged on the historic structure shortly before 11 a.m., though, and quickly got the blaze under control. "Today a small drilling truck caught fire outside the historic Union Station building," says a statement from Milender White. "No individuals were injured and there was only superficial damage to the exterior of the building on one small canopy area. Construction resumed on the building shortly after noon."

Still, this could put a crimp in one club's plans to complete packing up its model train layout. According to Tarry Harrison, the Platte Valley & Western group was slated to finish the job tomorrow, moving the rest of the layout to storage until the club can find a new home for the 2,000 square foot model. So far, he reports, locating a space has been tough. "The membership is losing hope," he reports. "Everywhere we look, the owners want major money for rent, which is not how model train groups exist."

More from the "Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Union Station developers give beloved model train layout the boot."

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