Man dies in retirement community fire in Aurora

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AURORA, Colo. -- A fire at Aurora retirement community claimed the life of an elderly man. The Aurora Fire Department said he was found in the top floor unit where the fire started and taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he died.

Firefighters were called to the condominium complex about 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, outside the quiet 55 and older community, insulation soaked from fire hoses was stuffed into trash bags and fallen debris from the fire was cleared from balconies.

“You can certainly smell the charred smell this morning all through the units,” said Aaron Eggert, who lives on the fourth floor of the building that caught fire.

Evidence of that is visible on the top floor where smoke damage lined the upper half of the hallway walls.

“They broke a window out on the sixth floor and a big billow of smoke just came pouring out of there,” Eggert said.

Eggert’s mother was home around 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the fire alarms went off.

“She was in there sleeping and when she looked out her peephole all she could see was smoke in the hallway,” Eggert said.

Radio calls illustrated the challenge of the smoke for firefighters.

“Dispatch, mayday, mayday, mayday, I am lost on the sixth floor, I need someone to come to the door and come get me” a firefighter said over radio to the 911 call center.

“We’re making our way up the stairs, we copy the mayday, Tower 6.1 is lost on the sixth floor” a firefighters says as the radio calls continue.

It was on the sixth floor that firefighters found one victim in the unit where the fire started.

“That's very sad,” Eggert said.

The victim, residents said was a kind and gentle elderly man. A dog also died in the fire.

On Sunday, plywood framed the doorway of the man’s unit. Next to it, a blackened and soot-covered fire alarm hung on the wall. Fire Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen when food was left unattended.

“It is hard when you see that and an accidental situation like this too makes it a little harder cause it wasn’t just a natural cause. It was something that maybe could have been prevented,” Eggert said.

The buildings are concrete and  firefighters said that helped contain the fire to just one unit. Several others have smoke damage, so some residents are still displaced.

The coroner's office has not yet released the name of the man who died in the fire.

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