Hospital evacuates patients after explosion, fire at power substation in Denver |

Hospital evacuates patients after explosion, fire at power substation in Denver

(Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)A fire broke out near Colorado Blvd. and 13th Ave. on Monday night, shooting a huge plume of black smoke in the air.

Xcel Power says it could be tomorrow before investigators determine the cause of an explosion at a substation in east Denver.

Power should be restored to more than 31,000 customers by morning, said the utility’s spokesman, Tom Henley. But determining a cause may take longer than that.

“We haven’t ruled out anything,” he said at about 9 p.m.

Outages from the blast at 1310 Jackson St. extended from Quebec to Humboldt Streets and First to 24th Avenues.

Denver fire chief Jim Sestrich said investigators also are looking into the relationship of an explosion at Rose Medical Center, which injured a lab worker and killed power there.

The explosion at about 6:30 p.m. came near the end of the hottest day of the year so far, with the high temperature reaching 94 degrees, 4 degrees shy of the record set in 2006 and 15 degrees higher than normal.

The explosion caused traffic jams at darkened traffic lights, stranded dozens of people in elevators and brought curious spectators out across much of east Denver.

Rose spokeswoman Cara Harshberger said evacuations were made necessary because backup battery power offered only limited services. The hospital moved 13 intensive-care patients to other facilities because of the uncertainty of when electricity would be restored.

The Veteran’s Administration hospital also is relying on backup power.

Denver Fire Lt. Phil Champagne said firefighters in Station 15, next door to the Xcel station, were on the scene immediately after the explosion and controlled the fire quickly.

“There’s a tremendous amount of damage in there,” he said of the substation.


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