BOULDER, Colo. — Body camera video released by the Boulder Police Department shows the chaotic moments during an apartment fire last month.
The fire started around 3:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Whittier Apartments at 2301 Pearl St.
Eighty-one units across six buildings were impacted by the fire. First responders are still surprised no serious injuries were reported.
"For most of our crew, this was probably the biggest fire they have had," Boulder Fire Lieutenant Joe Gross said.
Gross was part of the first fire crew to arrive on the scene. As they got closer to the complex, he could see the fire burning from the first floor to the roof line.
"For a three-story building, that is about 40 feet of fire wall," he said.
Flames were consuming the complex so quickly that some people couldn't use the front door to escape. The only way out was to jump.
"We had a guy that was about ready to jump and we didn’t have time to grab a ladder to help in any way, but to catch him when he jumped," Gross said.
More than 50 firefighters responded to the fire. Twelve Boulder police officers responded first, because they were in the area.
"We both knew it was something different we had never seen before," Officer Taylor Hickman said.
"There were some apartments we couldn't get to because of the flames and the heat, so we had no idea if they were occupied or not occupied," Officer Brandon Brisco said.
Every second counted during this response.
The fire destroyed a place many called home. The first responders' quick actions, though, saved lives.
"Stepping up to the plate and doing what needed to be done," Brisco said.
Crews were at the apartment complex for more than 24 hours to put out hot spots. Gross believes at least a million gallons of water were used to put the fire out.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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