Four-alarm fire at Colorado Springs' Martin Drake Power Plant

Voluntary 3-block evacuation now ended

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Firefighters battled heavy flames in a four-alarm fire at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs. The facility was evacuated and flames were reported on all three levels of the affected building.

The fire was first reported around 9:45 a.m. As of 1:54 p.m., firefighters remained on the scene to put out hot-spots and investigate the cause.

In all, 80 firefighters, 20 fire units and 20 support personnel responded to the scene. Two Colorado Springs Utilities employees sustained minor injuries. One was taken to a hospital.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department reported crews were battling "heavy fire" and neighbors in the city saw black smoke rising from the building.

The Martin Drake Power Plant provides nearly one-third of the community's power year-round, Colorado Springs Utilities says. The three generator units currently in operation were brought online in 1962, 1968 and 1974.

The utility said at least 22,000 customers lost power during the fire. The Colorado Springs Utilities' outage map now shows no outages.

A voluntary evacuation for a three block area around the power plant has ended, Colorado Springs Police say.

Colorado Springs Utilities also vented natural gas lines in the area.

Because of the fire, the city's police department announced they were operating under "Accident Alert and Priority Dispatch" rules for a few hours. Under those procedures, any driver involved in a traffic accident that does not involve injury, fatality, drugs or damage to public property should exchange information and fill out an accident report from a police substation at a later time.

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