Firefighters knock down house fire, save dogs, cats, tarantula, parakeet dies in blaze

Homeowner previously cited for scrap, cars in yard

DENVER - Two women escaped from a burning home near South Eliot and Cedar this morning, but they didn’t have time to save their pets, so firefighters did it for them.

“We were able to rescue three dogs, five cats and a tarantula,” said Assistant Chief Gregory Taft of the Denver Fire Department. “Unfortunately, a parakeet did perish in the fire.”

Cell phone pictures taken by a neighbor show flames several feet above the roof as firefighters arrived.

Taft told 7NEWS that the fire started outside the house among numerous scrap items being stored outside, then engulfed a shed and leaped toward the house.

“We had wind out of the northeast at 10 – 14 miles per hour, which contributed to the spread,” Taft said.

The two women who were in the house were left shaken by the blaze.  They declined an on-camera interview.

7NEWS has learned that the owner has been cited on three separate occasions for code violations, including: improper outdoor storage, inoperable vehicles and too many vehicles.

The most recent inspector’s visit resulted in a $1,000 fine.

Police shut down a 6 block stretch of Federal between West 1st Avenue and West Alameda while firefighters battled the blaze.

When asked if that was out of the ordinary, the Asst. Chief said, “No, we had multiple, multiple reports of (the fire.) Plus, we had a lot of people looking at the flames as we were trying to get our rigs into the fire, so we had a lot of traffic congestion just as we were trying to get access to it.”

Taft says fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause.

“It will remain ‘undetermined,’ until we can talk to the other residents who weren’t home when the fire started,” he said.

When asked what happens next regarding the code violations, Andrea Burns at Denver Community Planning and Development said, “The next step could be a court summons. We’ll have a conversation with police and the fire department to see what other steps need to be taken."

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