COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A three-alarm fire at the Martin Drake Power Plant has been extinguished after it caused a large plume of smoke over the city to be seen for miles and more than 22,000 customers lost power on Monday morning.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department says all employees got out safely from the facility at 700 Conejos St. in downtown. The fire started about 9:40 a.m. and was extinguished at 11:30 a.m.
The fire caused more than 22,000 customers in Colorado Springs to lose power, Colorado Springs Utilities said, but it was restored just after 11 a.m.
CSFD added the fire was on all three levels of Unit 5 and Colorado Springs Utilities said natural gas lines were vented in the area.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The fire forced the closure of West Cimarron Street between Interstate 25 and Cascade Avenue. South Sierra Madre Street is closed from Cimarron south to East Las Vegas Street. I-25 remains open, Colorado Springs Police say.
A voluntary evacuation for a three-block radius surrounding the plant was put into effect, from I-25 east to Cascade and Cimarron and south to Las Vegas.
An evacuation shelter set up by the Pikes Peak Red Cross will be at 1040 S. Eighth St.
According to Colorado Springs Utilities, the plant has been in operation for more than 80 years and provides nearly one-third of the city’s power.