Fire at Denver tortillería sends up black smoke over Santa Fe Drive

Natanael Chavez, an employee there, told Denverite the 14-or-so people inside evacuated safely.

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Kevin J. Beaty and Ashley Dean

A fire broke out Tuesday evening at Tortilla Mexico, a local, family-owned tortillería on 11th Avenue just off Santa Fe Drive.

As firefighters worked to put out the two-alarm blaze that sent up a large black cloud of smoke over the highly trafficked area at rush hour, Natanael Chavez, an employee there, told Denverite the 14-or-so people inside evacuated safely. 

One person was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, according to the Denver Fire Department.

One of the boilers  exploded, he said, and within just a few minutes the building at 840 W. 11th Ave. was on fire.

“I tried to do something to stop the fire,” he said, “but what could I do?”

Natanael Chavez, an employee, speaks to press after Tortillas Mexico caught fire on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Natanael Chavez, an employee, speaks to press.

This was the second fire in Denver on Tuesday. Around 2 a.m., two under-construction buildings just off Federal Boulevard were destroyed in a three- alarm fire. No one was hurt.

Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Denver firefighters work on an incident at Tortillas Mexico. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out the fire. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Bystanders watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Bystanders watch from across the street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters put out a fire that broke out on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Tortillas Mexico employees watch as Denver firefighters prepare to enter the building. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
A Denver firefighter watches the scene after spraying the building from above. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Denver firefighters work on an incident in Tortillas Mexico on 11th Avenue at Santa Fe Drive, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Denver firefighters connect hoses to a fire hydrant. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Santa Fe Drive was shut down after Tortillas Mexico broke out in flames on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; lincoln park; fire; firefighting; kevinjbeaty;
Santa Fe Drive was shut down after Tortillas Mexico broke out in flames. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This story will be updated as we learn more.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean is the assistant editor and culture reporter for Denverite. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes bourbon straight and dreams of someday holding the title of Nightlife Mayor. Find her at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.