Same Combustible Panels In London Fire In Denver Building

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – At least one building in Denver is made with the same combustible panels that may have contributed to the rapid spread of a deadly fire in London.

Business offices and retailers rent space at 1899 Wynkoop Street, a nine-story building at Wynkoop and 19th in Denver’s LoDo district.

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The combustible paneling, Reynobond PE, wraps around the top two floors of the Denver building, according to Arconic, the U.S. Construction company that makes Reynobond.

“Obviously, I’m concerned working in a building that has that condition,” one tenant told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

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Reynobond, an aluminum composite with a Polyethylene core, is under investigation after flames ripped through an apartment tower in London, engulfing its outer walls in less than five minutes and killing 80 people.

In the fire’s wake, Arconic announced it will no longer make the cladding available for high-rise buildings.

Tenants said they had no idea that the flammable material surrounds the top levels at their place of work.

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“It’s concerning given what just happened in London,” a worker said. “This is the first I’ve heard of it.”

“I’m surprised,” said another. “I thought we had regulations for that kind of thing.”

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Denver officials said the building, constructed  by The Neenan Company based in Fort Collins nearly 20-years ago, met all fire and safety codes when it opened.

A Neenan spokesman said the company no longer uses that material.

A city spokeswoman said the city would not require Reynobond’s removal unless prompted by fire code.

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Records show the National Fire Protection Association, which conducts fire resistance tests for code compliance, never tested it.

Centennial Realty Advisors, who manage the property, refused to comment on whether they were looking into the panels’ removal.

The city of Denver purges building plans after 7-years. It was unknown if or how many other buildings in Denver may contain the same panels.

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“We do not have an electronic database of all materials used on all buildings,” said Erin Burns, spokeswoman for the city of Denver’s planning and development department. “In this case we have information that this material may be on this building, which we assume is likely given the advertising by the private company. We would have to search dozens to hundreds of pages of hard copy paper for each building to determine the materials that were proposed for it. That applies to the buildings built within the last seven years. The city would not have retained most building plans from years prior to that.”

Burns also said that Denver buildings have stringent fire and safety codes that the burning tower in London lacked.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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