The home of the Denver Broncos, Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, caught fire last week and damaged “a couple hundred seats” along with 12 luxury suites, team president Joe Ellis told reporters at the annual league meeting on Monday. Ellis added that it will be a “real challenge” for the team to be able to get the damaged area ready in time for the start of the regular season.
“At first glance, we thought it wasn’t much of a big deal, but after going to see the damage and witnessing it in-person and spending time with fire inspectors and people from our stadium and the reclamation team that came in, it was a significant event,” Ellis said, via the Denver Post.
What makes the repairs a bit more complicated and what may cause them to not be fixed in time for the regular season is due to the steel risers that are used in the stadium.
“The heat from the fire, once it got going, those risers buckled,” Ellis said. “We’ll have to re-fabricate those steel risers in those particular sections and with supply-chain issues around the world and each one is a different dimension because of the way the seating bowl is constructed and contoured, it will take some time to get those replaced and they will have to be replaced.”
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The Denver Fire Department noted that the fire — which started in an East Club lounge construction area — was accidental. There were also no injuries due to the fire.
“Our staff did a great job in what was a serious situation,” Ellis said. “Everything worked the way it was supposed to in terms of our sprinkler system and evacuation system, which was important because the fumes from those seats (burning) were incredibly toxic — something I didn’t realize was an issue, but it would have been significant for people had they been subjected to it.”
Ellis did say that Mile High is still set to host events next month and that the fire will not “slow down the operations of the stadium; everything will continue to run and be in place for the summer.”