Residents of the Regency Tower Apartments won’t be allowed back home until Tuesday as the cleanup and investigation of a four-alarm fire Friday on the upper floors continues.

On Saturday, some of the residents of the 11-story southwest Colorado Springs seniors-only building were escorted inside to retrieve personal items.

Most of the 123 tenents of the apartment building at 921 Green Star Drive spent Friday night with friends or at hotels. Four slept at the Red Cross emergency shelter at Cheyenne Mountain High School.

No one was seriously injured, but two people were taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation, officials said. Four were treated on site.

The fire broke out about 11:30 a.m. and was declared under control about an hour later.

The apartments did not have a sprinkler system, which is not required under the city’s code for older high-rises such as the Regency Tower, which was built in 1965.

“It is important to know (that) sprinkler systems would have been a game changer for all residents and management at this location ...” Capt. Brian Vaughan, Fire Department spokesman, said in a text.

“Firefighters performed at the highest level yesterday saving lives, but sprinklers would’ve contained this fire more quickly than any human response.”

Despite the lack of sprinklers, the concrete construction of the Regency Tower, as opposed to a wood-frame building, kept the flames from spreading rapidly, Fire Lt. Don Watkins said Friday.

Firefighters also had repeatedly practiced putting out a fire at the Regency Tower, Vaughan said, knowing that it was home to senior residents who might have difficulty evacuating quickly.

Vaughan did not know how many units were uninhabitable or damaged. The cause is under investigation. Witnesses said Friday that it appeared to have started on the 10th floor.

Silver Key, a local nonprofit that serves seniors, put out a call for donations Friday afternoon: “We are calling on our community to help us get the seniors affected by this fire the resources they need in a timely fashion.”

Donations can be made on Facebook at or through the organization’s website at

Twitter: @lizmforster Phone: 636-0193

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193


Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

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