Two people were injured and another person died in an explosion and fire at Heather Gardens Senior Living community in Aurora,
Colorado on November 16. Emergency responders transported one resident and one firefighter to an area hospital where they were treated for explosion injuries that were not life-threatening. Another resident, Carol Ross, 82, did not survive the blast and it firey aftermath.
Heather Gardens Explosion and Fire
Heather Gardens is a senior living community for people 55 and older located in the southeast metro area of Aurora near Cherry Creek State Park. Established in 1973, the large community includes just over 2,400 units available in patio homes, townhomes and highrise condos.
Days before the explosion and fire, management notified residents of a gas leak and some work was done to address the problem. Nearby, there was also a construction project underway.
Around 5:30, on November 16, 2018, the Aurora Fire Department responded to a call about a gas leak, Laurie Briggs, an Aurora Fire spokeswoman said at a news conference. Shortly after they arrived, an explosion that kicked off a massive fire occurred. Four of the patio home units were completely destroyed in the blaze. Several other units were damaged by fire smoke and flying debris from the explosion.
Denver7 helicopter footage shows the size of the fire.
Another Deadly Fire in 2016
Two years ago, another deadly fire swept through Heather Gardens. That fire occurred in a unit on the sixth floor of a condo building. After firefighters discovered that the standpipes had failed, they had to lug fire hoses up six flights of stairs.
Fire officials determined that the cause of that fire was unattended cooking. The person who died lived in the unit where the fire began.
Fire officials are working together with Xcel Energy to determine the cause of explosion and fire. “This type of gas leak can be caused by negligent maintenance of the pipeline, a defective product, or by someone physically striking and rupturing the pipeline,” said Explosion Lawyer Eric Hageman.
Hageman is one of the lead gas explosion lawyers at the national law firm Pritzker Hageman which has won several multi-million-dollar settlements for people who were severely injured in explosions.