Large fire breaks out at condominium on Boulder's Pearl Street; cause unknown, fire officials say

Boulder fire on Pearl Street Oct 19 2021
Boulder fire on Pearl street_Oct 19 2021
Pearl Street apt fire in Boulder Oct 19 2021
Posted at 5:10 AM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 22:25:22-04

BOULDER, Colo. — Several buildings at a condominium on Pearl Street in Boulder burned in a massive fire early Tuesday morning and fire officials say it’ll be a while until they can determine how the blaze started.

The fire at the Whittier Place Condos near Pearl and 23rd Streets started sometime before 3:32 a.m., according to Boulder Fire spokeswoman Dionne Waugh, who provided an update on the fire Tuesday afternoon. It would take seven minutes for fire and police to arrive at the scene. Evacuations of the condo’s 81 units would begin shortly after.

There are no reports of injuries to residents or to firefighters following the blaze, Waugh said, even though some residents or visitors jumped from the second and third floors of the complex when the fire was raging.

The fire was under control by about 5:40 a.m., Waugh said, but firefighters are still battling hotspots and flare-ups and are expected to remain on scene for the next day or two to put those out.

Daylight Pearl Street Boulder fire_Oct 19 2021

She said several of the buildings have suffered partial collapses and are unsafe to enter at this point. Multiple agencies, including the ATF, are assisting in the investigation.

“Right now, we don’t know the cause or origin (of the fire). As soon as we can get in there, we can try to determine what happened,” Waugh said, as she asked for the public’s patience given that roads are closed and access to that area is restricted.

Boulder resident Josh Simpson, who lives across the street from the complex, told Denver7 he brought residents shoes and clothes as they left the building. He said he saw the fire spread into three buildings within 10 minutes.

"We saw a couple of the firefighters get a couple people off the balcony because I think the main part of the fire was in the stairwell between the units, so I think a couple people had to go off their balconies," he said.

Boulder Fire-Rescue confirmed that three buildings caught on fire and at least one person had to jump from an upper story and was caught by an ambulance crew. First responders initially believed some residents may have sought treatment for minor injuries, but no injuries have been reported as of Tuesday night.

During Tuesday's news conference, Waugh said they were still working to account for everybody and asked that anyone who lives or who was staying at the Whittier Place Condos, to please call Boulder Police Detective Sharon Ramos at (303) 710-6039.

Road closures in the area will remain in place through Tuesday and probably into Wednesday, she said.

Pearl Street fire in Boulder Oct 19 2021

If you or someone you know was displaced by this fire, you are asked to contact the Red Cross at (870) 440-7499. If you'd like to help, click here to find ways to do so through the American Red Cross of Colorado.

A total of 17 fire units and 51 firefighters were still on scene battling the blaze late Tuesday afternoon.

The building was built in 1984.

Editor's note: Boulder Fire-Rescue initially reported that Whittier Place Condos was 83 units, but later provided a correction to say it's an 81-unit complex.