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Investigators say Centennial apartment fire that injured 8 may be arson

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Investigators say a major fire at an apartment complex in Centennial was human-caused and may be arson. The site of the fire was turned into a crime scene late Monday afternoon.

Eight people were hospitalized, including one critically, after the early-morning apartment fire Monday in which many people who lived there were forced to make daring escapes.

There were many stories of neighbors helping neighbors, with some jumping from the third floor of the complex to escape the fire, which took about 100 firefighters a half-hour to gain control.

Neighbors put down sheets and blankets, and a resident put a mattress on the back of his truck and backed it up so people could jump down to safety.

Twenty-four units in the building of the Copper Terrace Apartments at 6550 S. Dayton St. were evacuated, affecting 48 to 75 people, South Metro Fire said. Eight units have extensive damage.

Residents say they heard the fire alarms about 1 a.m. and tried to get out, but the fire was blocking the stairs. That's when neighbors jumped into action.

Lenise Russ is getting married Saturday and her roommate, who is the maid of honor, has two broken vertebrae. Russ' hands were bandaged and she kept her dress at her parents' house.

The Red Cross is helping families find a place to stay. Investigators are working to determine a cause.


  • Robert Gift

    Fire blocking both means of egress?
    If you can, rather than jump, wait in your apartment for fire department rescue with doors behind closed.
    Closed doors are an effective barrier against smoke and fire spread.
    If you must exit on your own through a window, try to hang down from the window sill, then drop.
    Such can lessen drop by over 6 feet. (Those who jumped often could have waited for rescue.)
    Hope that all will recover well.

  • SpamFace Plant

    Hope they had renters insurance. Very cheap to replace your worldly possessions which are truly worldly when you’re just starting out! Glad they all made it out.

    • Jan

      Don’t assume. When I left home, I moved over 1,000 miles and left with everything: baby book, savings bonds, heirlooms handed down for 4 and 5 generations. I was 20 when my apartment was robbed, they took things I absolutely cannot replace no matter the insurance.

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