Officials: Aurora house fire intentionally set; fleeing woman saw graffiti, spray cans inside home

Woman, dog escape flames unharmed

AURORA, Colo. - Fire officials say someone intentionally set an Aurora house on fire while a woman was sleeping inside early Tuesday morning.

The woman and her dog escaped the burning home at 20304 E. Vassar Avenue in The Conservatory neighborhood at about 3 a.m.

Hilary Pierce, whose former husband is the listed owner of the home, told 7NEWS that as the female renter fled the flames she saw fresh graffiti on the walls inside the house, spray-paint cans and a sliding door that was open.

The renter and her dog escaped unharmed.

"When crews arrived on scene, they had a working structure fire," Aurora Fire Captain Diane Lord told 7NEWS reporter Linsday Watts.

Neighbors reported an explosion to 911. A woman living across the street said the blast shook her home.

Firefighters initially went into the home to fight the fire, but were quickly forced to retreat.

"It was unsafe for the crews to operate in the structure, so they had to withdraw and fight the fire defensively," Lord explained, saying that firefighters remained outside until the flames was extinguished.

No firefighters were hurt, Lord said.

"The fire was intentionally set," Lord said. Investigators have determined the fire was started in the garage of the home.

Fire investigators are pursuing leads and trying to identify suspects, Lord said.

The home's owner, Jason Schultz, told 7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn that he hired a management company to rent the house, so he doesn't know the tenant.

"I have no clue who would do something like this," Schultz said, adding that he believes it was random vandalism and that he finds it surprising because it is such a nice neighborhood.

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