Fire burns HVAC system on downtown Denver parking garage causing smoke to billow between buildings

DENVER - Fire broke out Tuesday afternoon on the roof of a downtown Denver parking garage, causing a big black cloud of smoke to billow over the area and cover neighborhoods in smoke. It left three people injured from smoke inhalation, one of whom was hospitalized.

"On the roof over there, they've got that mechanical room that holds a couple of chillers, and that's what was burning, that's what caused all that heavy smoke out there," said Denver Fire Department spokesman Mark Watson.

The parking garage is next to the Warwick Hotel and the 303 E. 17th office building. The fire did not spread to those neighboring buildings, but the office building was evacuated.

7NEWS viewers sent in photos showing thick smoke billowing off the parking garage and through the surrounding streets.

Watson explained the thick smoke was caused by the contents of the mechanical room.

"Thats why you got the heavy smoke: a lot of mechanical, a lot of oils and stuff like that. And it kind of drifted, as you guys could probably see, too all parts of downtown."

Watson said the fire was extinguished by about 2:40p.m., less than an hour after it was first reported.

Fire investigators are working to determine the cause, Watson said.

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