Fire at Denver tortillería sends up black smoke over Santa Fe Drive

Natanael Chavez, an employee there, told Denverite the 14-or-so people inside evacuated safely.

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Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Kevin J. Beaty and Ashley Dean

A fire broke out Tuesday evening at Tortilla Mexico, a local, family-owned tortillería on 11th Avenue just off Santa Fe Drive.

As firefighters worked to put out the two-alarm blaze that sent up a large black cloud of smoke over the highly trafficked area at rush hour, Natanael Chavez, an employee there, told Denverite the 14-or-so people inside evacuated safely. 

One person was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, according to the Denver Fire Department.

One of the boilers  exploded, he said, and within just a few minutes the building at 840 W. 11th Ave. was on fire.

“I tried to do something to stop the fire,” he said, “but what could I do?”

Natanael Chavez, an employee, speaks to press after Tortillas Mexico caught fire on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Natanael Chavez, an employee, speaks to press.

This was the second fire in Denver on Tuesday. Around 2 a.m., two under-construction buildings just off Federal Boulevard were destroyed in a three- alarm fire. No one was hurt.

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Denver firefighters work on an incident at Tortillas Mexico. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out the fire. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Bystanders watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Bystanders watch from across the street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters prepare to enter the building. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

A Denver firefighter watches the scene after spraying the building from above. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Denver firefighters connect hoses to a fire hydrant. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Santa Fe Drive was shut down after Tortillas Mexico broke out in flames on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;

Santa Fe Drive was shut down after Tortillas Mexico broke out in flames. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This story will be updated as we learn more.

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