AURORA | More than 350 residents of a central Aurora apartment complex remain forced from their homes after an explosion inside the large complex blew a large hole through an outside wall Saturday morning.
Three people were injured, possibly from flying debris during the explosion, witnesses and officials said. All sustained minor injuries, fire officials said.
Some residents said fire officials were reporting structural damage to the building’s foundation.
“Initial reports indicate 216 apartments and 350 people have been impacted,” according to American Red Cross officials, responding to the scene. “We have opened an emergency shelter at Gateway High School.”
Red Cross officials said anyone affected by the incident can visit the evacuation center for aid.
“Volunteers are standing by to provide comfort and care,” Red Cross officials said in a statement. “Disaster health and mental health services as well as individual disaster assistance and feeding services are available.”
Residents were allowed 30 minutes on Sunday to retrieve personal items, taking turns at appointed times depending on which of five floors they live on. It’s unclear when some or any of the residents will be able to return to their apartments.
“There were more than 100 individuals, 16 dogs, 8 cats and 1 bird being provided comfort and care at the evacuation center which was opened at Gateway High School,” Aurora Fire and Rescue spokesperson Sherri-Jo Stowell said in a statement.
Hours after the explosion, some people living the complex were in bathrobes or under Red Cross blankets waiting to hear about retrieving personal items or temporary housing, residents waiting outside said.
Calls from The Sentinel to apartment property managers were not returned.
Aurora Fire and Rescue said they were called to Parkside Collective Apartments at 14565 E. Alameda Ave. just before 10 a.m. to investigate reports of smoke.
“On arrival, crews began searching for hazards when an explosion occurred,” fire officials said in a tweet.
The blast caused a large hole in the wall outside of the complex.
Resident Matt Lynn tweeted this video.
My building in Aurora at Alameda and Sable is evacuated due to what might be a water heater explosion. Lots of emergency response and a proper hole blown out of the side of the fourth floor. @SentinelColo pic.twitter.com/1RHlQ2fU3a
— Matt Lynn (@nnylttam) September 10, 2022
“At this time it is unknown what the exact origin of the explosion was but all searches have been negative, and all crews have mitigated hazards and are out of the structure at this time awaiting assistance with utilities control,” fire officials said.
Another video taken just after the explosion occurred:
— YO SOY TU TIÁ 💋 (@chelleislife) September 10, 2022
On Saturday, some residents said the air inside or near the complex smelled of sulfur.