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Publish Date: 3/13/2005

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The Boulder Fire Department cleans up at the scene of an apartment fire Saturday afternoon at 1000 Maxwell Ave.Times-Call/Lewis Geyer

Boulder fire injures one, causes up to $200,000 in damage


BOULDER — For an hour Saturday, firefighters from every fire station in Boulder battled a three-story apartment complex fire that injured a resident.

Boulder Fire Department officials did not release the name of the man who was injured escaping the fire at 1000 Maxwell Ave. but said he was taken to Boulder Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

One of the nearly 30 firefighters who beat back flames that consumed a wood pile and burned through at least three apartments was hurt cleaning up the fire. He also was transported to Boulder Community Hospital.

Investigators don’t know what sparked the blaze shortly after 11 a.m. but said they believe the fire caused between $150,000 and $200,000 in damage to the west building of the two-building downtown complex.

“We probably won’t (know the cause) for a couple of days,” said Sherry Kenyon, a fire-safety educator with the Boulder Fire Department. “They have to go through the debris to determine the cause.”

Firefighters started attacking the fire at about 11:20 a.m. Saturday after residents reported seeing flames and feeling the heat of a fire in the west building.

Before firefighters arrived, some residents grabbed apartment fire extinguishers and tried to put out the blaze.

“I had a fire extinguisher on it,” Chris Ratay said. “(The flames) went out of control.”

Firefighters expected residents of the apartment complex’s east wing to be able to return to their homes Saturday night but weren’t sure when residents of the burned building would be allowed back. According to firefighters, many of the other 11 units in the apartment’s west building were heavily damaged by smoke.

“They just didn’t know when services would be turned back on to the apartment complex,” Boulder Fire Department spokeswoman Julie Brooks said of the eastern wing. “Obviously, those had to be turned off as they were fighting the fire.”

Brooks said the American Red Cross is assisting residents needing alternate housing, but she said she didn’t know how many people were displaced by the fire.

After the fire was out, residents escorted by police were allowed back into their apartments to get necessary belongings.

Jenn Ooton can be reached at 303-684-5295, or by e-mail at jooton@times-call.com.

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