Five people, including two children, died in a house fire in northeast Denver early Wednesday and police are investigating after they say they found evidence of arson.
The Denver Fire Department responded at about 2:45 a.m. to a fire at 5302 Truckee St. in the city’s Green Valley Ranch neighborhood. Photos posted to its Twitter feed show a heavily damaged house.
The Denver Police Department says it will “be providing full logistical and investigative support in this matter.” Homicide detectives are part of the probe.
“We have indication, through some evidence, that it was an arson,” said Denver police Division Chief Joe Montoya.
Montoya declined to comment on the nature of the evidence police found.
“I can’t get into the details on that right now,” Montoya said.
Police officers were first to arrive on scene at the blaze. They tried to save the occupants of the home but the fire was too intense, authorities say.
Three people survived the fire after jumping from the home’s second story. Authorities did not have details on their conditions Wednesday morning. The five who died were on the first floor.
Neighbor Maria Mendoza said she was awakened by noise and someone screaming, “Get the baby out! Get the baby out!” at 2:40 a.m. 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. Firefighters arrived moments later.
“It all happened so fast, less than 10 minutes. These are big houses but they’re all made of wood,” Mendoza said, holding back tears. “May God and the community help this family.”
Mendoza said she didn’t know the family but would wave or say “Hi” whenever she saw the children. She said the neighborhood was built about two years ago.
Investigators erected a white tent outside the nearly destroyed home, its frame blackened in stark contrast to neighboring beige houses with neatly manicured lawns.
“This is a devastating time for Denver, for this community,” said Capt. Greg Pixley, a Denver Fire Department spokesman. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to this community.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also expressed his condolences.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family members who died in a house fire in Green Valley Ranch overnight,” he said in a written statement. “I want to assure their neighbors and loved ones that we will move swiftly to determine what caused this tragedy.”
Surrounding homes were also damaged by the fire. “This fire could have been more significant, affecting far (more) people,” Pixley said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Updated at 8:02 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020: This story has been updated to correct a source’s error on the address of the home that police suspect was set ablaze.