Dec. 26--A fire that engulfed an apartment complex early this morning killed a woman and her 3-year-old son.
Fire and police personnel responded to a structure fire in the 300 block of East Evans Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. on Christmas morning.
They arrived to find a three-unit apartment complex fully engulfed in flames.
The fire was contained by about 5:45 a.m., according to Gary Micheli, a public information officer with the Pueblo Fire Department.
Occupants from two of the apartment units were removed safely.
The third complex contained a family of four including a grandmother, a mother and two children.
The mother, identified by Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer as Natasha Fiore, 25, died. Her son, Elijah Pino, 3, was also killed in the blaze.
The other child, an unnamed 5-year-old, was airlifted to a Colorado Springs hospital to be treated for injuries incurred in the fire.
The unnamed grandmother was transported to Parkview Medical Center and is in critical condition.
Fiore's sister, Samantha Siore-Penaranda, learned of her sibling's death at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
"I got a call and I was at a loss for words, I just kept saying 'What?' repeatedly" she said. "My sister meant the world to me. She was the baby sister, and my only sister. She was loving, caring and always tried to make the best of things. It's been a tough Christmas for us."
One firefighter was injured battling the blaze and was transported to Parkview Medical Center to be treated. He may have broken a bone in his leg, according to police.
The injury is non life-threatening.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations and an arson investigator with the Pueblo Police Department spent Sunday investigating the cause of the fire.
Police said that based on evidence collected in the apartment, the fire may have been drug-related.
"A fire can be started by making and/or using drugs," Eric Gonzales with the PPD said. "It's possible that was the cause of this fire but it's still to be determined.
Everything in there was burned up pretty good and we need to continue to investigate."
Investigators have ruled out arson as a possible cause of the fire.
Pueblo police and the CBI's investigation is ongoing.
Copyright 2013 - The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.