Suites, seats catch fire at Denver Broncos' Empower Field at Mile High

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Producing a thick, black smoke plume that was seen throughout downtown Denver on Thursday afternoon, a fire burned in a portion of the club level on the east side of Empower Field at Mile High, which is home to the NFL's Broncos.

The Denver Fire Department responded at about 2:15 p.m. MDT to a fire that began in a construction zone in that part of the stadium, department officials said at a news conference. The fire was under control by about 2:45 p.m.

Approximately 75 firefighters were at the stadium, with a second alarm called before the fire was completely extinguished. Investigators have not said what caused the fire.

There was a stadium tour underway at the time, and the group -- as well as employees who were working in that part of the stadium -- was evacuated from the stadium. No injuries were reported.

A Denver Fire Department spokesman said the fire covered "over 1,000 square feet'' and began on a suite level -- the fourth level -- of the stadium and then spread into seats in the third level.

Stadium officials said on Twitter that the fire originated in a construction zone near the East Club Lounge.

The sprinkler system engaged at the suite level, but the fire department was called to extinguish the fire in the seats as well as ensure the fire in the suite level was out.

"This type of plastic that the seats are composed of burns with not only significant ferocity ... but also produces a tremendous amount of black smoke,'' Capt. Greg Pixley, a spokesman for the fire department, said.

Smoke from the burning seats was seen throughout downtown. The stadium also sits adjacent to Interstate 25, so traffic was impacted as people slowed to see the fire.

The stadium seats 76,125 people and includes 8,200 club seats and 144 suites. It opened on Aug. 11, 2001, to replace the original Mile High Stadium, which was once 50 feet from the current stadium in what is now a parking lot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.