Denver, CO

Friday in Denver: Investigators working to determine cause of Empower Field fire, Casa Bonita opening pushed back & more

Steven Bonifazi
Denver Fire Department crews extinguish a fire at Empower Field at Mile High stadium on March 24, 2022 in Denver, Colo.(Denver Fire Department)

By Steven Bonifazi / NewsBreak Denver

(DENVER, Colo.) Hello, top of the morning and happy Friday, Denver Rounder-Uppers!

Welcome back to another Friday edition of the Denver Daily Round-Up. 

There is only one week of March left. This weekend’s weather forecast promises to be nothing short of gorgeous. 

Friday will kick off dry, mild and sunny, with a high temperature around 68. Saturday's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high temperature near 79. Expect partly sunny skies Sunday but warmer temperatures with a high around 80. 

Let's take a closer look at a few stories you should be aware of this Friday:

1. Fire at Empower Field destroys seats, but where did it start?
No injuries were reported from the fire.(Denver Fire Department)

A fire broke out around 2:15 p.m. Thursday at Empower Field at Mile High, leaving several sections of seats destroyed.

FOX31 reports that the fire began in the northeast corner of the stadium between sections 331 and 334, while Denver Fire believes it started on a fourth-level suite and burned the seats below on the third level.

Denver Fire said the fire spread around 1,000 square feet of the arena and that the building's sprinkler system helped extinguish the flames. The cause of the fire is currently being determined by fire investigators.

2. Casa Bonita renovations push back opening from summer to fall

With renovations taking longer than expected, iconic Lakewood restaurant Casa Bonita will now open this fall. The restaurant was set to reopen this summer.

The restaurant's new owners, Comedy Central's "South Park" creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone purchased the property last year and chose to give it a makeover. CBS Denver reported that several dozen of Casa Bonita employees have been paid to serve the Denver metro community full-time.

Chefs, servers and divers currently work full time at charities and organizations including We Don't Waste, Habitat ReStores, the Action Center, Project Angel Heart and SAME Café.

3. Denver improves 911 response times by adding staff
Denver's emergency 911 center.(City and County of Denver)

Denver 911's Executive Director Andrew Dameron said on Wednesday that Denver's emergency 911 center has hired more people to improve response times and answer calls faster.

The call center hit a staffing level of 49 percent in February and is currently staffed at 71 percent, with 35 of 49 emergency call technician positions filled, according to NewsBreak Denver's David Heitz. The center upped the starting pay to $24 per hour to help recruit new staff and stopped using a test that used to eliminate half of the applicants. 

The center has a few initiatives it is working on for handling emergencies including dispatching a Uber rather than an ambulance to transport a patient to urgent care instead of an emergency room to save on healthcare costs.

4. Colorado one of the worst markets for first-time homebuyers
(Courtesy of Evolving Home)

A new report from Evolving Home on the Best States for First-Time Homebuyers ranked Colorado 44th.

The average cost of a home in the state was $438,096 as of Dec. 31, 2020, and prices have since steadily risen. NewsBreak Denver's Margaret Jackson reported that saving for a 20% downpayment of $87,619 would take roughly four years for the average first-time buyer in Colorado.

The top five states for first-time homebuyers are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, and Kansas. States that ranked lower than Colorado include Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, California and Hawaii.

Denver metro housing listings

  • 1525 Hudson Street, Apt 2, Denver, 80220: $264,900, $1,501 estimated monthly. Condominium. 1 bed, 1 bath, 557 sq. feet. Find more information here.
  • 3973 Malaya Court, Denver, 80249: $399,000, $1,923 estimated monthly. Single-family. 2 beds, 3 baths, 1,400 sq. feet. Find more information here.
  • 918 Zenobia Street, Denver, 80204: $474,900, $2,196 estimated monthly. Single-family. 2 beds, 1 bath, 966 sq. feet. Find more information here.
  • 3845 W Kenyon Avenue, Denver, 80236: $525,000, no monthly estimate listed. Single-family. 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,183 sq. feet. Find more information here.
  • 1954 W 66th Avenue, Denver, 80221: $630,000, no monthly estimate listed. Single-family. 3 beds, 4 baths, 1,851 sq. feet. Find more information here.

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