ARVADA, Colo. -- Two people died after an adult foster care home in Arvada caught fire Saturday morning. The Jefferson County Coroner's Office said a 4-year-old girl who is not being named and 39-year-old Tanya Bell were the victims.
The company that owns and runs the home said Bell was a tremendous woman who they have great respect for. Outside the home on Robb Street on Monday, Mel Dilka stared at the house where the lives were lost.
She said it's hard to imagine what those inside were going through when the fire broke out.
“To see this is kind of like devastating and its sad,” Dilka said.
Dilka said she spent four years at the home as a caretaker for Parker Personal Care Homes, an adult foster care program.
“This was a developmental disabled facility. Some you would change, some you would feed, you would bathe,” Dilka said.
Pointing out the rooms inside the charred home, Dilka said, “That window right there, that was the staff room.”
It was possibly from that room that someone dialed 911 around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
“We do have a party that's trapped inside. Smoke is filling in her room. … There is fire on the front porch,” 911 dispatchers told firefighters on the scene of the fire.
Communication between dispatchers and firefighters continued for some time.
“We have two people in the basement of the structure. I think we are going to have one that's going to be trapped,” firefighters said to dispatchers as they searched the home.
The radio traffic painted a picture of the struggle on scene that morning. Rescuers fought smoke and flames, working to get all seven people out of the home safely.
“We have two more patients, we have a child coming out and an adult,” a firefighter radioed to dispatch.
On Monday, a small memorial sat outside the home honoring the 4-year-old and Bell.
"It's devastating,” Dilka said. “It's not like you’re just an employee, you're part of the family."
She said when she worked for PPCH, it had monthly fire drills to try to prevent tragedies like this from happening. In this case, the fire spread quickly while people inside the home were asleep.AlertMe