Fire Causes $1 Million in Damages at Power Plant

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A fire early Saturday at the Comanche power plant caused about $1 million in damages to a conveyor belt, the Pueblo Fire Department reported Monday.

The fire sparked about 12:30 a.m. at the plant south of town.

According to a fire department press release, welding was being done on the conveyor belt, which is used to haul coal from train cars. The conveyor belt is more than 180 feet from the ground and the fire spread over a 300-foot portion of the structure.

Because it was under construction, the conveyor's fire sprinkler system was shut off at the time.

Burning pieces of the belt fell into a coal stack below that also caught fire.

"This is one of the more challenging fires I've encountered in my career," Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Shelton said. "Fighting a fire that is nearly double the elevation of our largest ladder truck (105 feet) and has no physical access to attack made it very interesting."

It took firefighters three hours to quell the blaze.

"Our crews did a phenomenal job creating strategies that can't be learned from a book," Fire Chief Chris Riley said.

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