KUSA - A dam failure on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge has prompted Commerce City officials to order evacuations.
Residents are ordered to immediately evacuate from Commerce City's Irondale neighborhood in the following area:
• North Border: E. 88th Avenue
• South Border: E. 80th Avenue
• East Border: Monaco Street
• West Border: Highway 2
There is an embankment currently holding back a significant amount of water which is 300 yards wide, three-quarters of a mile long and about 15-20 feet deep. That is equivalent to three football fields in width and 12 football fields in length. The embankment is expected to fail within the next hour and water will begin flowing in the neighborhood.
Police spokesman Christian Rasmussen says the dam on the refuge was breached earlier in the day and water was flowing into Irondale, a mix of mobile homes, industrial sites and farmland.
Rasmussen says Commerce City police earlier evacuated neighborhoods that are home to 2,000 to 3,000 people because retention ponds were overflowing. No injuries were reported.
Many residents left their homes with just small bags of clothes. Others had to abandon their cars in the road when they stalled out in high waters.
The flood waters came from Fairfax Park, which is designed for storm water retention. However, it was quickly overwhelmed by the heavy rains Thursday and water flowed out into streets, yards, and homes.
Residents are ordered to immediately evacuate the following area:
• North Border: 72nd Avenue
• South Border: 69th Avenue
• South Border: E. 64th Avenue
• East Border: Holly Street
• West Border: Highway 85
• Northwest Border: State Highway 2
This evacuation also includes the Shady Lane Mobile Home Park.
Highway 85 is closed, so residents must evacuate to Adams City High School, 7200 Quebec Parkway, using either northbound Grape Street or northbound Holly Street to E. 72nd Avenue. Then drivers should head east.
The Commerce City Police Department Emergency Operations Center is requesting citizens stay off the roads except in cases of an emergency.
Evacuations are possible in the early afternoon for Commerce City in the following area:
• North Border: East 96th Avenue
• South Border: East 80th Avenue
• East Border: State Highway 2
• West Border: U.S. Highway 85
The possible evacuation is due to a dam located on the Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge that has exceeded its capacity. A half-mile wide sheet flow of water has the potential to travel into this area, crossing State Highway 2 and impacting the neighborhood of Irondale. While the majority of the area is industrial in nature, there are pockets of residential homes.
Residents and employees should be prepared to leave the area using Heinze Way south to Rosemary Street and south to Quebec Street. Evacuees will be sent to Adams City High School, located at 7200 Quebec Parkway.
Red Cross is assisting with the evacuation shelter. Call 911 for emergencies or assistance.
Roads closed in Commerce City include:
• Highway 2 from E. 64th Avenue to E. 69th Avenue
• Highway 2 is closed from E. 80th Avenue to E. 88th Avenue
• Reunion Parkway south of 104th Avenue is impassible
• Brighton Road from E. 56th Avenue to E. 60th Avenue
• Southbound Highway 85 at E. 74th Avenue
• E. 56th Avenue from Colorado Boulevard to Brighton Boulevard
• Fairfax Drive from E. 69th Avenue to E. 72nd Avenue
• E. 96th Avenue from Highway 2 to Chambers Road - except Eagle Creek residents
• Havana Street between E.104th Avenue and E. 96th Avenue
• Peoria Street from E. 96th Avenue to E. 104th Avenue
• Northbound Highway 85 between E. 60th Avenue and E. 64th Avenue
• E. 72nd Avenue between Highway 85 and Highway 2
• E. 60th Avenue (4400 block) west to Brighton Boulevard
• E. 96th Avenue from Eagle Creek Parkway to Chambers Road
• Northbound and southbound Hwy 85 are closed from E. 60th Ave to E. 69th Ave
• The 7700 block of Kenwood Street
Other hazardous conditions:
• Fairfax Park water has crested the banks and homes are experiencing flooding
• Union Pacific has stopped train traffic while water is pumped across the tracks
Large animals can be sheltered at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock - off Interstate I-25 and Plum Creek Parkway).