For the second time this week, a fire burning for hours sent a plume of smoke high into the sky over the Metro area.
The smoke was coming from four businesses in Brighton.
Tires inside one of the businesses fueled the flames. Small explosions rocked Main Street and kept firefighters from getting too close.
The flames shot higher than houses nearby. Those homes were evacuated.
Growing flames and billowing smoke caused people to stop and stare.
Judy and George Trujillo live near the fire and said, “We were getting the mail and we saw this big old giant smoke, black, so we came down here.”
They say it’s something they’ve never seen before.
“No, never in Brighton. We thought it was an oil tanker because of the black smoke, or the tire shop too,” said the Trujillo’s.
Firefighters say when they got there they saw vehicles from the body shop in flames and heard explosions from tires and chemicals.
“When we got here it was getting white, but now it turned black again because something else must have caught on fire,” said the Trujillo’s.
That something was a grocery store and salon.
The Trujillo’s said, “That’s a busy Mexican grocery store. They sell tortillas, meat, and everything in there.”
Linda Yanez is another person who could not believe what she saw.
“I came back to pick up my son because I wasn’t confident it wasn’t going to catch out apartment on fire,” said Yanez.
She says from every angle things looked like they were getting worse.
“I saw the fireman up in the bucket and he looked really close to the smoke and it looked pretty bad,” said Yanez.
Nearby homes were evacuated. Fire crews say the struggles they faced were the intensity of the flames and the difficulty of getting through all of the businesses that are now burned.
Trujillo said, “I feel sorry for them because that’s the way they make their living.”
“I just hope everybody is ok,” said Yanez.
Everyone did make it out okay and the man who freed himself was checked out and let go.
Both South Adams and Ft. Lupton also helped out.
They believe the fire started in the body shop. On Saturday, investigators determined the fire originated in a vehicle maintenance area in the building, and was most likely caused by welding work being conducted on an SUV.
They plan on going inside to see the damage, but first they have to make sure it's safe to walk through.