Mom, 2 children & deputies injured in condo fire in Arapahoe County

Posted at 9:19 AM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 03:41:18-05

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – Investigators say an unattended stove led to a fire at Club Valencia Condos on South Parker Road just before 9:00 Friday morning.

A mother, her two small children and two Sheriff’s deputies were injured during blaze.

“I heard alarms,” said neighbor Rick Mann, “so I ran down the hall to see where it was coming from.”

Mann, a former volunteer fire fighter, said he spotted smoke wafting out from under one of the doors, so he checked the handle and tried to push it open.

“It wouldn’t move,” he said, “because the woman inside was wedged against it.”

The Good Samaritan then ran outside to the back door and saw that it had already been busted in.

He said he could see a deputy searching inside the smoke-filled condo with a flashlight.

“We went over, found the woman, got her away from the door and out into the hallway, and then outside,” he said.  

That’s when he noticed the other deputy had already rescued the kids.

“I was really concerned about the children,” said another neighbor, Richard Guthrie. “My goddaughter plays with them.”

Investigators told Denver7 there was a bit of a delay in calling 911.

Cunningham Fire Chief Jerry Rhodes said when the fire first started, the mom called her husband.

Instead of calling 911, the dad called some in-laws who live in the same building.  They rushed over and then called 911.

Before catching a ride to the hospital, the distraught father told Denver7 that his wife, 3-year old daughter and 1½-year old son, were in the condo when the fire broke out.

Witnesses said the victims were all unconscious, but appeared to be breathing on their own.  They were taken to area hospitals.

Investigators said the victims all suffered smoke inhalation.

The two deputies also suffered smoke inhalation and were being treated as well.

Deputy suffered smoke inhalation trying to evacuate condos during fire. #Denver7 (Club Valencia condos)

— Eric Lupher (@EricLupher7) January 27, 2017

The fire burned at the Club Valencia condo complex in the 1300 block of South Parker Road, between Mississippi Avenue and Valentia Street.

Fire in first floor unit of an apartment at Club Vallentia apartments off Parker and Mississippi. #Denver7 #BREAKING

— Eric Lupher (@EricLupher7) January 27, 2017

South Metro Fire Rescue assisted Cunningham Fire at the scene.

Investigators said it appears the fire started in the kitchen.

Investigators say it appears fire started in kitchen... stove area!

— Lance Hernandez (@lancehernandez7) January 27, 2017


Fire officials say the Club Valencia building was constructed in the 1960s and pre-dates the adopted fire code in the Cunningham Fire Protection District.

Asst. Fire Chief David Markam told Denver7, “there is no sprinkler system in the building.”

He said the fire department has worked with the owner to make the building safer than it was when it was constructed.  

“We’ve worked with them on smoke detection in the units and in the corridors,” he said. “We’ve worked with them to make sure the fire doors are functioning and operational, and that there is emergency lighting and signage in the hallways, so people can escape.”

Nigel Holderby, of the American Red Cross, said they’re working to provide temporary shelter for the family.

Holderby also said the Red Cross will look into claims that some of the smoke detectors may not have triggered.

Markam said smoke detectors have a finite life.  He said it’s wise to replace the actual detector every ten years and to replace the battery during the twice-annual time switch between daylight savings and standard time.


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