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3 minor injuries reported after explosion at Westminster townhomes

Four buildings evacuated, everyone accounted for
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Westminster townhome explosion
Posted at 2:05 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 00:56:53-05

DENVER – Two residents and one firefighter sustained minor injuries after an explosion at the Stratus Townhomes on Sheridan Blvd. in Westminster Wednesday afternoon.

Westminster Dispatch received reports of an explosion and fire just before 1:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they discovered an eight-unit building heavily involved with fire and called for a second alarm, according to the Westminster Fire Department.

Several adjacent buildings were evacuated due to the nature of the fire. The department said everyone from the affected buildings was accounted for. The fire was deemed under control around 2:20 p.m.

Residents in building 17 and some units in building 19 were later allowed to return to their apartments. However, high levels of carbon monoxide prevented firefighters from reopening the other affected buildings.

Two residents were treated for minor injuries at the scene, while one firefighter was evaluated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

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The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. The department said the investigation will likely take an "extended period of time" due to the building's size. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are assisting with the investigation.

Fire officials said work was being done at the complex at the time of the incident. Police said that a construction company was hired by Stratus to work on water heaters and furnaces. The department said Xcel Energy is inspecting other buildings in the complex out of an abundance of caution. Residents could experience temporary utility shut-offs during that process.

This is the second explosion reported in Westminster in two days. On Tuesday, one person was killed in a house explosion in the 7700 block of Knox Court southeast of the townhome complex.

Tuesday's incident occurred less than two miles from the Stratus explosion. Westminster fire officials said the two are "not believed to be related in any way."

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The department said it has received information that residents are shutting off the utilities at their homes out of precaution. Due to very low temperatures, fire officials are highly discouraging this practice.

Twelve Westminster Fire units responded to Wednesday's explosion, along with units from Arvada Fire, Adams County Fire and the Federal Heights Fire Department.

Northbound Sheridan Blvd. is shut down between 80th and 88th Avenue. Westminster Fire asked drivers to use Federal or Lowell boulevard instead. The northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for several hours.

Red Cross is providing support to those displaced by the explosion and fire.

This is a developing news story and will be updated.