NewsDenver7 | Investigates


Cause of massive Emerson construction fire in Denver still unknown, fire chief says

Investigation into cause expected to last weeks
Fire investigation expected to take weeks longer
Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 19:27:29-04

DENVER – The investigation to determine what caused a massive fire in downtown Denver this month at an apartment complex on Emerson that was under construction is expected to last weeks longer and a cause won’t be identified until then, Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade told Denver7 Investigates.

“It is still too early to say what caused the fire,” Tade told investigative reporter Jace Larson.

He said there is a large amount of video investigators are going through as they work to corroborate witness’ statements.

Physical evidence from the fire scene is enormous, Tade said.

“We don’t put a timeline on our investigation because we never know where the next interview will point us,” he said. “We are interested in getting this right.”

Roberto Prieto, 29, and Dustin Peterson, 37, were killed when a fire broke out during construction of the Emerson Place project in uptown Denver Mar. 7.

More than 50 construction workers were inside the five-story building at the time of the inferno. Most were able to escape by leaping from the second and third story of the still uncompleted building. However, Prieto and Peterson were unable to make it out.

Crews discovered Prieto’s body just hours after the fire. Peterson’s body was found the next day. Six other people suffered injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns.

Peterson’s parents previously told Denver7 that their son was on the third floor where the fire started.

Fire officials tell Denver 7 a comprehensive report including a possible cause is expected to be released next month.