Colo. Apartment Fire Leaves 1 Dead, 15 Injured

AURORA, Colo. -- One woman was killed and 15 people were injured when fire raced through an Aurora apartment building early Saturday. The fire broke out at after 5 a.m. at the Aspenwood Apartments, located at 572 Potomac Ave. Aurora...


AURORA, Colo. --

One woman was killed and 15 people were injured when fire raced through an Aurora apartment building early Saturday.

The fire broke out at after 5 a.m. at the Aspenwood Apartments, located at 572 Potomac Ave. Aurora firefighters quickly called a third alarm after arriving.

Karen Dias, 66, died when she fell or jumped from a second-floor stairwell balcony as she tried to escape the blaze, authorities said. The woman's son, Keith Dias, also plunged from the balcony and is recovering from a broken hip at a hospital.

"I saw the man jump," said resident Greg Barnaby. '"Whoever watches your station, I hope they just pray for him and his family."

Barnaby said he was awakened by people shouting.

"They said: 'Fire! Everybody get out. Everybody out. There's a fire,"' the dazed man recounted.

"There was a whole lot of smoke, like big, pitch black smoke, coming out of the apartment," he said.

"I was walking out (and) there was a lady was screaming up from the third floor, 'Somebody grab my baby!' …. I was saying, 'Now, please don't throw the baby. Don't throw the baby,'" Barnaby said.

A police officer rescued the woman and the baby, he said.

"One of the officers, thank God, got there in time," Barnaby said. "I hope they're all right."

Aurora firefighters said they transported 12 residents from the apartment to area hospitals, including one who suffered critical injuries.

Three Aurora police officers also were injured. A police spokesman said the injuries were minor and that the officers drove themselves to an area hospital.

The fire began on the first floor of the complex near the inner courtyard. Capt. Allen Robnett of Aurora Fire said that 12 apartments were damaged in the blaze.

Robnett said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Aurora police are assisting firefighters in the investigation, interviewing witnesses to determine what happened before and after the fire, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassidee Carlson. A search warrant was executed on the apartment where the fire is believed to have started to help investigators piece together what happened.

Meanwhile, residents at Aspenwood Apartments are collecting money to help the victims of the fire. They've started a jar collection at the main office for anyone who wants to donate.

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