BRIGHTON, Colo. — Norine LaFerriere of Brighton opened the blinds in her home Friday morning, as she always did, to see a thin trail of smoke coming from an abandoned building nearby. Within minutes, it was engulfed in flames.
She said as soon she realized the building was on fire — which was around 7:35 a.m. — she called 911. As she was on the phone, the flames grew bigger.
Fire Chief Mark Bodane with Brighton Fire Rescue said firefighters responded to the scene around 7:45 a.m. to find a heavy fire on the first floor of the building. The flames had already reached the roof and soon after, broke through.
Bodane said while somebody reported that there may have been a vagrant living inside the building, he could not confirm if that was true.
Nobody was injured in the fire. Between 30 and 40 firefighters responded.
He said parts of the building have collapsed, so crews will likely stay at the scene most of the day putting out hot spots.
The bitter cold was an added challenge for firefighters, Bodane said.
“It’s always more difficult in this type of weather obviously,” he said. “The good news is that our water supply was good. We didn’t have any problems with frozen hydrants.”
Through the mid-morning and afternoon, the crews switched rounds to ensure they had time to warm up and avoid frostbite. Bodane said frostbite is a major concern between the cold air, water and exposed skin.
The fire shut down Union Pacific Railroad.