On March 7, 2018, a fire broke out at an apartment building that was under construction at 1833 N. Emerson in Denver’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood. City inspectors have identified multiple nearby buildings that have been damaged, or may have been damaged, as a result of this fire. The block has been fenced off and the buildings have been posted as unsafe.
A vigil will be held Friday to honor the two construction workers who died in last week's fire off Emerson Street. Anyone is welcome to attend the vigil.
Over the weekend, Denver Police provided access to the buildings on this block for residents to retrieve belongings and vehicles, and begin to plan for future renovations and repairs. City inspectors and Xcel Energy also worked over the weekend to restore power to several buildings that were farthest away from the fire and allow these to be re-occupied. Assessments and repairs will continue this week.
For residents, business owners, and contractors who need to access their property or who are working to repair areas damaged by the fire, please access still-unoccupied buildings only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Police officers will expect unoccupied buildings not to have activity after 7 p.m.
For the security of your property and your neighbors’ property, please lock the gate behind you when coming or going, and take the precautions necessary to secure your unit/belongings. Please ensure contractors or other third parties close and lock gates when coming or going, and especially when leaving for the night.
City inspectors have identified multiple nearby buildings that have been damaged, or may have been damaged, as a result of the 1833 Emerson fire. It includes essentially all buildings on this block.
The block has been fenced off and the buildings have been posted as unsafe.
Depending on the damage to your building, some people may be displaced for several weeks until your building can be assessed and repaired. The Red Cross is able to provide housing options for people displaced by the fire.
If you are displaced and have a pet, please try to find family or friends that can temporarily care for your animal. If you need help with the care of your pet, contact 311 and the Denver Animal Shelter will be able to help.
The city is enlisting third parties to assess the damage to the buildings impacted by the fire. This will include preliminary assessments by structural and electrical engineers as well as environmental consultants. We are taking this step in order to expedite the repair work that will be necessary to get people back in their homes quickly.
The preliminary assessment will give building owners a starting point for understanding the type and amount of repair work that will be needed on their property. Each owner will then need to hire their own engineers or contractors to do a full assessment, apply for permits, and complete the work necessary. To further speed up the process of allowing people to return to their homes, Community Planning and Development will expedite any permits and inspections that may be needed to repair structures impacted by the fire.
Ash and burned debris has been found up to a mile away from the fire’s location. This debris is not believed to pose a public health risk. The city is working to locate and clean debris from public property.
If you find debris, please dispose of it or call 311 to report debris on public property.
Indoor Air Quality after a Fire
Even if not affected by the heat of the fire, many nearby structures may need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove smoke and other pollutants. Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment recommends the following steps:
Asbestos is naturally occurring mineral substance that is often used in building materials, including floor tile and related glue, roofing shingles, wall and ceiling textures, insulation, and drywall. Asbestos in building materials is not a risk to human health unless it is disturbed, such as during a fire or the work of extinguishing a fire. If asbestos is found in your residence, it may be necessary for the areas of contamination to be remediated as part of the building clean up.
It is better to send cash donations instead of having to transport and store items at great expense. Quite often, survivors do not need or can’t use goods that are donated by generous fellow citizens. Organizations that receive unsolicited donations have to take time to catalogue and store such materials, which takes valuable time away from working on urgent needs.
To donate in support of the people affected by the fire at 18th and Emerson, please reach out to one of the following organizations:
The effects of this fire will be felt for a long time. Today or in the future, if you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, you should visit the volunteer section of redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to apply to be a volunteer. Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is another resource for connecting with response and recovery voluntary agencies.