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Firefighter Speaks About First Moments Of Drake Power Plant Fire

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"I'd be lying if I told you that it didn't run through my mind that this could be my last call."

Captain Steven Riker with the Colorado Springs Police Department spoke candidly about the huge risk he took Monday when he rushed into a building that he knew might explode.

Riker was among the more than 100 firefighters who responded to the fire at the Drake Power Plant in downtown Colorado Springs Monday morning. Fire investigators say the fire was started accidentally, when lubricating oil inside the plant leaked on top of a very hot steam pipe, causing an instant flash fire. The fire chief spoke Wednesday about how the oil continued to leak, making the fire even bigger before crews were able to arrive.

Riker was one of the first on scene, and said he knew going in that the possibility of an explosion in the plant was "astronomical."

"The entire time I was there it was always in the back of my mind that it doesn't take a lot to have that spark that could set that coal dust to explode," he said. Riker said if the plant had exploded, it could have taken out a three-block radius.

The fast work of fire fighters stopped that from happening. They knocked down the majority of the fire within an hour. There were only two minor injuries related to the accident.

"At this station we all have wives, we all have kids, we all have family and it's nice to say that they got to go home," Riker said.

Investigators say it will take them a few more weeks to determine exactly what caused the oil leak that helped ignite the fire.


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