2 hurt when Leadville building explodes
Leadville, CO Colorado
LEADVILLE – An industrial building exploded in Leadville on Friday afternoon, injuring two people and expelling flames from 250 to 300 feet high, said deputy Steve James with Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
One victim was flown in critical condition to a hospital while the other is receiving treatment locally, he said.
The former Coca Cola bottling plant on U.S. Highway 24 south of town most recently housed industrial businesses including an automotive repair shop, a masonry business and a towing business. It’s about 50,000 square feet.
“I do believe it will be a total loss,” James said regarding the extent of damages. “We have ongoing explosions.”
He said that firefighters were entering the building after the first explosion at about 3:15 p.m., but they have since “moved into defensive battling mode.”
Some of the businesses contained “volatile liquid” in tanks, James said.
Firefighters from six agencies – including Lake County, Copper Mountain, Salida and Chaffee County – were on scene as well as medical teams from three agencies.
The fire continued to burn after 5 p.m. on Friday, and James said the cause of the fire and explosion has not been determined.
Officials closed the highway after the explosion, according to a report in the Associated Press.
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The operating license for Kent Funeral Home in Gypsum has been summarily suspended by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies following an investigation that revealed disturbing conditions at an associated funeral home in Leadville.