Firefighters help evacuate 100+ residents from Colorado Springs senior living facility following power outage
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - More than 100 seniors had to be evacuated from their homes after their building lost power Monday afternoon.
Firefighters responded to the Regency Tower Apartments near 8th Street and Cheyenne Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. on reports of a structure fire. Instead of finding flames, they found the entire 11-story building pitch black.
The outage effectively cut heat and elevator access, along with electricity, to the 130+ residents living in Regency Tower.
“Absolutely it’s a concern,” said Lt. Aaron McConnellogue with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Over the next several hours, firefighters worked to get all the tenants out of the building. Because of the size of the building and with much of the operation taking place after sunset, crews had to set up lights to help them maneuver around. Lighting was the least of the obstacles, McConnellogue told 11 News.
“We’ve got lights set up, so we’re able to navigate, find their way around. The challenge has been trying to get people from 10th to the 11th floor all the way down with no functioning elevators. So we’re using equipment, there’s some people that we’re having to carry with some of our equipment stair chairs to move them all the way down the stairs, so it’s just a really slow process right now.”
All while racing against both the clock and the cold.
“The crews are doing OK because they’re inside and working hard right now, like I said, between carrying and assisting and moving people,” McConnellogue said about midway through the evacuation process when asked how the firefighters were faring without heat in the building.
The fire department organized with the Red Cross to get food to the residents during the evacuation. Paramedics and an ambulance were also on scene just in case anyone had an emergency.
By 10, firefighters had everyone out of the building. CSFD says residents will be staying with family members or in hotels until power is restored -- something that could take a couple of days. According to Colorado Springs Utilities, the electrical issue is on the Regency Tower’s side, meaning the owners will have to hire a contractor to make repairs before utility crews can turn the power back on.
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