A three-alarm fire late Monday at the Colorado Springs Airport grounded all flights and forced cancellations Tuesday.

The fire broke out about 11:30 p.m. Monday in the insulation on the roof on the west side of the airport. It took firefighters more than four hours to contain.

Fire crews could see flames shooting from the roof before they even got to the airport, Lt. Doug Pape with the Colorado Springs Fire Department told Gazette news partner KKTV

“As we were approaching, we could see the flames from several miles off … there was quite a bit of smoke production,” Pape said.

Though flames were clearly visible from far away, firefighters struggled to pinpoint the fire and hotspots on scene.

“We had to do relay pumping to aerial operations … locating the fire, finding the extent and the nature of the fire, and just access was probably the biggest issue,” Pape said. “We have water supply, but there wasn’t any right in front of us like there would be for a house fire, so we had to have a fairly long lay-in. That delayed a little bit, the operations of getting water on the fire.”

Meanwhile, those in the airport were shocked over the news.

“I was just downstairs working at Avis Budget (car rentals),” airport employee Tony Frost said. “All of a sudden some guy runs downstairs screaming that there’s a fire. I thought it was a joke at first.”

Evacuations were issued, and inbound travelers found themselves suddenly trapped on their planes.

“We ended up sitting on the tarmac for about three hours,” passenger Maddison Russell told KKTV.

In a Facebook post, the airport said that all airport operations are closed while the Fire Department finishes a safety evaluation. Employees are expected to report to the field shop for the scheduled shift, though 25 inbound and outbound flights are canceled.

The Colorado Springs Airfield and military operations remain open.

Those needing to reschedule a flight Tuesday can call the following numbers:

United: 877-624-3653
Frontier: 303-481-2550
Delta: 800-221-1212
American: 800-446-7834

Check with the Gazette for updates.

Did you have a flight today? Here’s what you should do.

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