Arson caused Centennial apartment fire overnight Monday that injured eight residents

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Investigators have evidence suggesting the fire that injured eight people and destroyed four apartments was intentionally set.

The fire began in a stairwell in building G of the Copper Terrace Apartments began around 1 a.m. Monday. That building is located on South Dayton Street near Arapahoe Road in Centennial.

Monday evening the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said arson was being considered as a strong possibility, and Tuesday Undersheriff Louie Perea said investigators did find evidence suggesting that conclusion. The evidence included signals from arson dogs trained to smell chemical accelerants.

During the fire, some residents became trapped. Some were forced to jump or repel off balconies using bed sheets they tied together.

"I wrapped my hand with a towel, grabbed a candle and broke the window," Chris Johnson said. "Someone brought out a mattress and I jumped from the third story onto the mattress."

One neighbor backed a pickup truck up to the burning building and residents threw mattresses in the bed of the truck to help people who wanted to jump.

"I didn't know if we were going to make it out in time," said Lenise Ruff, who suffered second-degree burns on her hands and jumped out of her third-story window with her roommate, Marilyn Kruc.

Kruc underwent surgery for two broken vertebrae Monday, said Ruff, and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation will process the evidence from the arson, Perea said. He was not allowed to release any additional information about the type of evidence discovered.

Anyone who may have video or photographic evidence from the fire, or who may have seen anything suspicious, is asked to call 303-795-4711.

Print this article Back to Top