By David Mullen
Two people in a small single-engine propeller plane headed to Centennial Airport died Wednesday afternoon after the plane struck an electrical line and crashed, igniting a brush fire in Douglas County, South Metro Fire Rescue said.
The plane went down in a large open space near South Peoria Street and Ridgegate Parkway, south of the airport and just east of Interstate 25.
The FAA said the plane was a Lancair Evolution that had taken off from Neosho, Mo., earlier in the day.
Officials initially reported that one person died in the crash, but later determined an additional person and a dog were also onboard, according to Kim Spuhler, a public information officer for the fire department.
Information about the victims has not been released.
Crews and deputies were dispatched to the scene about 1:45 p.m. after multiple reports of people who saw a “black column of smoke,” said Connor Christian, a spokesman for the fire department.
Officials said the plane struck the power lines between Hess Road and Ridgegate Parkway off of South Havana Street before crashing and igniting the small brush fire. Firefighters and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office were able to get the fire under control.
“A fire is always a concern, especially with jet fuel, but luckily it didn’t catch and we were able to contain it,” Spuhler said.
Helicopters surveyed the area to assist with crews on the ground and providing airdrops to subdue any flames sparked by the downed power lines, he said.
A large police presence remained in the area through the afternoon blocking off access to the crash site and patrolling the area on bikes. The sheriff’s office, Centennial Airport and Lone Tree Police Department responded to the crash.
An investigation is to be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, officials said.
Xcel Energy said Wednesday evening that customers in the area would experience a forced power outage that night as crews did emergency work.