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Fire breaks out in same building as 2018 Santa Fe Drive natural gas explosion that injured 9

Posted at 5:39 AM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 19:45:12-04

DENVER — Firefighters continued to work to extinguish a large fire on Santa Fe Drive Friday morning, at the same building as a natural gas explosion and fire that injured nine in 2018.

The Denver Fire Department responded to the fire on Santa Fe Drive near 4th Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. Friday. Because the building's roof is not stable, it's not safe for firefighters or investigators to go inside and work to determine the cause of the fire, said Bob Kmak with the fire department. They will talk with witnesses who reported the fire, he said. He said it does not appear to be a gas explosion since Xcel Energy said the gas line had been capped in the building after the 2018 explosion.

This fire is burning at the same building as an August 2018 fire, which partially collapsed one residential building after a natural gas explosion. Nine people were injured. Todd Norman Perkins, an ex-handyman, was arrested in February for investigation of first-degree arson and attempted first-degree murder. According to court documents, Perkins remains in custody. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 8.

The fire department said nobody was inside the building at the time. In this fire, the south side of the building caught fire.

Greg Pixley with the fire department said he knows people were in the area at the time, but wasn't sure if they were connected to the fire.

Firefighters will continue "surrounding and drowning" the building throughout the morning, Kmak said. Santa Fe Drive could stay closed through the morning commute.