5 Family Members Die in Suspected Arson

Cops believe Denver fire was intentionally set
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2020 3:58 AM CDT
5 Die in Suspected Arson in Denver
This photo from the Denver Fire Department shows the house where multiple people were found dead in fire that authorities suspect was intentionally set, early Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.   (Denver Fire Department via AP)

Five people were found dead Wednesday after an early morning fire destroyed a suburban Denver home—a blaze authorities said they suspect was intentionally set. Three people escaped the fire by jumping from the home's second floor, the AP reports. Investigators believe the victims were a toddler, an older child, and three adults, Denver Fire Department Capt. Greg Pixley said. Their bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished the fire, which was first reported by a Denver police officer at 2:40am Pixley said. The three survivors were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Denver police spokesman Jay Casillas said. "This is a devastating time for Denver and this community. Our heart and our prayers go out to this community," Pixley said.

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, Pixley 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. Abou Djibril, who said he was a relative of the victims, told the Denver Post the people who died were members of a family that had immigrated from Senegal. Neighbor Maria Mendoza said she was awakened by noise and someone screaming, “Get the baby out! Get the baby out!” at 2:40am. She ran to a window and saw flames and plumes of smoke rising from the home just down the street. “I awoke my husband, and he ran outside to see if he could help but there was nothing he could do. The fire was too big,” Mendoza said.

(Read more Colorado stories.)

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