CSFD rules Colo. Springs power plant 4-alarm fire accidental

A fire has broken out at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs on Monday, May 5, 2014. (Credit: Colorado Springs Fire Department)

A fire has broken out at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs on Monday, May 5, 2014. (Credit: Colorado Springs Fire Department)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Following the initial phase of the investigation into a four-alarm fire at a Colorado Springs power plant, fire crews have determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.

According to the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Monday’s flash fire at the Colorado Springs Utilities Martin Drake Power Plant resulted after free-flowing lubricating oil came in contact with high-temperature steam pipes.

The oil continued to feed the flames, increasing the fire’s size and severity until firefighters arrived on scene and were able to quell the blaze, said CSFD fire officials.

The investigation remains on-going, added officials, and may take several weeks to identify all of the factors contributing to the cause of the fire.

At approximately 9:40 a.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to the Martin Drake Power Plant at 700 Conejos St. in Colorado Springs on reports of a structure fire. Within five minutes of receiving the report, CSFD crews arrived on scene to find the building engulfed in flames with plumes of dark smoke rising from the building.

Firefighters aggressively began to battle the blaze with an interior fire attack — they succeeded in quickly knocking down the main body of the fire

By 12:42 p.m., fire officials had declared the incident “under control.”

Crews continued to work through the afternoon and evening, addressing hot spots to ensure the fire was out.

CSFD said a total of 23 fire apparatus as well as 120 firefighters and support personnel responded to the scene.

During the incident, a voluntary five-block radius evacuation, excluding the Interstate 25 corridor, was issued, said fire officials. Additionally, the railroad in the area was closed to all train traffic for four hours while crews worked to extinguish the flames.

One Colorado Springs Utilities contractor was taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries and later released, said CSFD. A Utilities employee was also evacuated from the scene and later released.

No firefighters were injured.

The Air Force Academy Fire Department, Cimarron Hills Fire Department, Fountain Fire Department, Fort Carson Fire Department, Manitou Springs Fire Department, Security Fire Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Department and Donald Wescott Fire Department also responded to the fire, said CSFD.  Additional support was provided by the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Colorado Springs Police Department, American Medical Response, the Salvation Army and Colorado Springs Utilities.

The Division of Fire Marshal is working with Colorado Springs Utilities to ensure various fire suppression systems are in working order in other critical areas of the plant, added CSFD.