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1 dead after early morning fire in Aurora that displaced 60 people; person of interest sought

Reward increased for information in suspected arson to $5,000
Fire at 1600 Galena Street_Oct 29_Aurora Fire Rescue
Posted at 5:30 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 02:03:30-05

AURORA, Colo. — One person has died following a two-alarm fire on Friday morning in Aurora, and police said they are looking for a person of interest in connection with the fire.

In a tweet just after midnight, Aurora Fire Rescue (AFR) said the Galena Apartments, at 1600 Galena St., had caught fire, with reports of injured and trapped people inside.

When crews arrived, they searched the building and began attacking the blaze. They performed ladder rescues, AFR said, and several residents jumped from windows.

By 12:27 a.m., the fire was under control.

Around 8:15 a.m., a Ben Pfeiffer, public information officer with AFR, confirmed that 13 patients were treated at the scene. Five were transported to a hospital, where one died. The condition of the other four people is unknown.

About 60 residents from the building were displaced by the fire, AFR said. Vans were brought to the scene to keep them warm as the incident command officials begin helping them with sheltering options.

Some residents were forced to jump from windows to escape the flames and smoke, they told Denver7 as they gathered their belongings Friday morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. One of the owners of the apartment complex told Denver7 Friday afternoon he had turned surveillance video over to investigators.

Aurora Fire Rescue released screengrabs of video Friday afternoon asking for help in locating a "person of interest" in connection with the fire and asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

Aurora Fire Rescue said they had not ruled out arson but said that the investigation was ongoing and that they had not ruled out any possibilities for the fire’s cause as of Friday afternoon.

The Aurora Reward Fund on Nov. 12 added an additional $3,000 to the initial $2,000 for anyone who could provide information in the suspected arson.