Longmont Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a building near First Avenue and Coffman Street in Longmont on April 28, 2020.  (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Longmont Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a building near First Avenue and Coffman Street in Longmont on April 28, 2020. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

A fire engulfed an abandoned building and resulted in a power outage Tuesday afternoon in Longmont.

Longmont Fire Department spokesperson Patrick Kramer said multiple Longmont fire units and police officers responded to the blaze at 129 Coffman Street around 5 p.m.

“The structure had full roof and partial wall collapse due to intense fire,” Kramer said. “Firefighters used a defense strategy, fighting the fire from above and outside.”

The burning building, which funneled thick black smoke into the air, was located only 10 to 12 feet from the Longmont Power & Communications’ electric substations.

To protect firefighters on scene, due to the close proximity of the water to the power station, a transmission line was shut down causing a power outage to about 1,000 residents, Kramer said.

Longmont Power & Communications wrote in a Facebook post that customers from roughly First to 11th avenues and from Kimbark to Bross streets was impacted. Crews restored the power at about 7:15 p.m., once the fire was under control.

Kramer said the cause of the fire is under investigation. He said it is too early to tell if arson is suspected. No firefighters or bystanders were injured during the blaze. Kramer said it was also unknown whether there were people inside the building when the fire started.

The fire drew a crowd along Second Avenue. Mark Lozinski, who works at the post office on Coffman Street, said the power went out inside the building. Outside, he saw billowing smoke and flames he described as 10 feet high.

“I saw huge flames. The (firefighters) were putting water on to it — and the smoke was darkening,” Lozinski said.

Lozinski’s car was blocked in by fire trucks and as he waited for the scene to clear so that he could go home, he watched the action unfold.

“They’ve been using water from the fire hydrants to douse the building for quite some time,” he said at the time.

Just down the street, Jenni Martinez captured the activity on her phone from a safe distance. Martinez and her sister Selena Martinez and their friend Brenda Gibson saw the smoke from roughly 2 miles away at Golden Ponds Park. Then a friend posted about it on Facebook. Curious, the Longmont residents said they came by to see what was going on.

“I was like, I know exactly where that’s at,” Jenni Martinez said. “This right here. It’s just a shame.”

Even though the building was abandoned, Jenni Martinez said it was still likely a part of Longmont’s history, so it was sad to see it destroyed.

Longmont firefighters could be seen using a ladder truck to spray the remains of the charred building from above. Kramer said authorities weren’t yet sure of the cost of damage to the structure. He said he was unaware of what the building had been used for before it was abandoned.

Second Avenue from Terry to Main streets was shut down as authorities worked at the scene throughout the afternoon into the evening.

Approximately 30 Longmont firefighters helped to battle the blaze. In addition to Longmont police, other assisting agencies included the American Medical Response, Mountain View Fire Protection District, Lafayette Fire Department, Boulder Fire Department and the Longmont Emergency Unit.