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Fire damage to Colorado Springs Airport estimated at $5 million

April 23, 2018 Updated: April 24, 2018 at 6:17 am
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All flights were canceled at the Colorado Springs Airport in Colorado Springs, Colo., after a late night fire Monday, April 16, 2018. The United check-in area received heavy damage from water and falling ceiling tiles. Crews were working hard to fix damaged areas of the terminal on Tuesday, in hopes the terminal could reopen as soon as possible. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP)

Fire damage to the Colorado Springs Airport will cost about $5 million to repair, while the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, officials said Monday.

The Colorado Springs City Council is considering an emergency appropriation so the airport can start repairs now before insurance claims are finalized. The council will vote on that appropriation Tuesday.

The three-alarm fire sparked late April 16 tore through the airport's roof, ceiling and office spaces. Nearby propane tanks - on site for roof repairs - fueled the flames further. Flights were halted but resumed early Wednesday.

The airport, an enterprise of the city, has money on hand to make the repairs, but it needs permission to spend it, Aviation Director Greg Phillips told the council Monday.

The damage should be fully covered by insurance, but it's unclear when that money will be available, Phillips said.

With a council appropriation, he said, the repairs could be finished by Thanksgiving, the airport's busiest holiday weekend.

The airport already has spent about $300,000 on some repairs, Phillips said, and the "cataclysmic" damage destroyed the conference room where the council has met multiple times.

Without the appropriation, Councilman Don Knight said, the repairs could remain unaddressed through the end of the year. He and others on the council expressed support for Phillips' request.

Councilman Dave Geislinger asked Phillips to return with another request if the repair money could simultaneously be used to update the airport.

Phillips said he's already considered that route but will watch expenditures as they relate to the insurance claims.

"Rather than replacing the carpet with the same carpet that we had before, this may be an opportunity to look at a different flooring style," he said.

The airport's Novo Coffee and The Bristol Taproom remained closed Monday, Phillips said.

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