Temple Dr. fire started by careless smoking, fed by wind and natural gas

AURORA, Colo. - A smoker's carelessness caused a massive house fire that filled an Aurora neighborhood with smoke and spread to a neighboring home Tuesday evening, according to firefighters.

The Aurora Fire Department says the fire began at approximately 5:30 p.m. in the home at 17685 E. Temple Dr.

While they say it originated because of "carelessly discarded smoking materials," several other factors exacerbated the spread of the flames. The fire department says winds were sustained at approximately 24 mph, accumulated organic material caught fire. The heat melted a gas meter, which fed additional fuel to the flames.

Diana Garcia, who lives a few doors down from where the fire started, said she was inside watching TV when she heard what sounded like firecrackers.

"I heard pop, pop, pop and I saw people tearing down the street," Garcia said. "As I got out here, the whole side of the house was just engulfed in flames, actually both of the houses were just engulfed in flames."

The first firefighters arrived within eight minutes of the fire being reported, but were delayed because it was not noticed and reported earlier. Eventually a total of six fire engines responded and a ladder truck was used to attack the flames from above.

Bystanders were ushered kept a block away because of thick smoke and debris.

In fact, when 7NEWS reporter Lindsey Sablan first arrived, the smoke was thick enough to completely obscure the burning homes from her camera down the street.

One person was taken to the hospital for minor injuries but all other occupants escaped without injuries.

Firefighters say the flames were extinguished by 6:30 p.m.