LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A woman who suffered critical injures after a fire broke out inside her apartment in Lakewood early Saturday has died, according to West Metro Fire Rescue officials..
The fire at The Ranch at Bear Creek apartments was reported at 5:14 a.m. in the area of South Estes Street and US Highway 285.
A man living in an apartment behind the burning unit was having coffee when he noticed a lot of smoke and flames.
"He went around and knocked on doors to alert neighbors. He finally found the apartment. Then as he approached the door, the neighbor inside was trying to get out," Ronda Scholting, spokeswoman for West Metro Fire Rescue said.
The woman was critically burned and taken to a hospital for treatment. She was pronounced dead just before 5 p.m.
Denver7 asked Scholting about working detectors and alarms within the unit. Although fire crews found a smoke detector in the victim's apartment, Scholting said West Metro couldn't determine whether it served its purpose, "It was too melted for investigators to discern whether it was working at the time."
Fifteen residents were displaced because of smoke damage, West Metro Fire Rescue officials said.
Torched debris, heat and smoke damage was noticeable on Saturday morning. Denver7 spoke with neighbors who said they were most worried about the victim.
"There's always a sign that says no smoking, I use oxygen," neighbor Jonathan Ibarra said.
A medical device that, when met with flames, could have caused much more destruction.
"I found the dude that pounded on the door and I was like, in tears. I was like, 'Dude, thank you. I probably would be dead.' Ibarra added.
The blaze was contained to one unit. Fire crews were working late Saturday morning to make sure that there were no other hot spots.