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Underground fire in Colo. knocks out power to over 1,000 residents

Colorado Springs firefighters kept fire, coming out of several manholes, from extending into nearby buildings

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Colorado Springs Fire Department/X

By Lauren Penington
The Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A fire burning underground in Colorado Springs knocked out power to more than 1,000 residents in the downtown area early Monday morning and evacuated hundreds more.

The call came in just before 2:30 a.m. Monday, reporting flames shooting out of a manhole at 101 Kiowa Street.

When firefighters responded to the scene, they found flames coming out of multiple manholes, the Colorado Springs Fire Department said on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

In one alleyway, the flames even blew a manhole cover off.

https://twitter.com/CSFDPIO/status/1701162564875382800

Firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings — including residents, restaurants, hotels and more — and put out the main fire by 4:15 a.m., though heavy smoke remained in the area.

The fire, which started in the underground electrical vaults, knocked out power to approximately 1,100 residents, Colorado Springs Utility spokespeople Tyrone Johnson said.

“We’re still on the scene assessing the situation and trying to determine a restoration time,” Johnson said.

He said people should avoid Kiowa Street between Tejon and Nevada Avenues as crews continue to work in the area. All dark intersections should be treated as four-way stops.

Power is currently out from Platte to Pikes Peak in between Tejon and Weber, the fire department said in an update.

Several streets in the area remain closed as fire crews investigate the cause of the blaze, and buildings nearest the fire were evacuated due to the carbon monoxide risk from the area’s heavy smoke.

While all the closures are expected to last several hours, the Kiowa and Nevada parking garage is closed indefinitely, the fire department said in a post on X.

No injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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