DENVER—Five people were found dead Wednesday after an early morning fire destroyed a suburban Denver home—a blaze that authorities said they suspect was intentionally set. Three people escaped the fire by jumping from the home’s second floor.
Investigators believe the victims were a toddler, an older child, and three adults, said Denver Fire Department Capt. Greg Pixley. Their bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished the fire, which was first reported by a Denver police officer at 2:40 a.m., Pixley said.
The conditions of the three survivors were not immediately known, Pixley told reporters outside the charred house in Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, a relatively new suburban development of tightly-packed homes near Denver International Airport.
A police officer attempting to rescue people on the first floor was pushed back by the fire’s heat and it appears that those who died were all on the first floor, he said.
Police are investigating the fire along with firefighters because there are indications that it was arson, said Joe Montoya, division chief of investigations for Denver police. He would not elaborate on the evidence because he said he did not want to compromise the investigation.
“This is a devastating time for Denver and this community. Our heart and our prayers go out to this community,” Pixley said.
The Denver Post newspaper quoted Abou Djibril, who said he was a relative of the victims, as saying the victims who died were members of a family that originally immigrated from Senegal.
Investigators erected a white tent outside the nearly-destroyed home, its frame blackened in stark contrast to neighboring beige houses with neatly-manicured lawns. Officers strung crime scene tape to erect a perimeter stretching four homes from the home.
By Thomas Peipert