AURORA, Colo. — Seventy Four people are without a home tonight following a three-alarm fire at the Park Place at Expo Apartments in Aurora.
Firefighters responded early Friday evening to the 10600 block of East Exposition Avenue on a report of a fire with people trapped.
"I saw firefighters...take out an older woman from up there," one tenant said, while pointing up to a third floor window.
Aurora Fire Rescue says crews used ladders to rescue victims and pets from the second and third floors.
Department spokeswoman Sherri Jo Stowell said five tenants were evaluated for injuries.
"One was transported to a local hospital," she said. "There were no life-threatening injuries."
This scene is still very active with many AFR units still on scene. Vehicles have been seen driving over our firehouse, so please avoid this area.— Aurora Fire Rescue (@AuroraFireDpt) June 5, 2021
In this video - ladders used to rescue victims from windows of 2nd and 3rd floor. Thankfully no life threatening injuries reported. pic.twitter.com/HXEfsnFG09
Stowell said the reason three alarms were called is because of the amount of smoke and the number of people trapped.
"When I went out into the corridor, there was so much smoke I couldn't see anything else," said second floor tenant Cameron Ward. "I couldn't see the walls. I couldn't see the carpet. I know I should have gotten down on all fours, but I was like, I'm getting the (expletive) out of this building."
Ward said he initially didn't hear the fire alarm, because his electronics were up too loud.
"I saw smoke coming by my window and thought oh (expletive.) So I turned everything off and heard the fire alarm," he said.
Other residents told Denver7 they never heard the alarm.
One tenant, who asked for anonymity, said there are smoke detectors, but they didn't go off.
Fire officials say they're still trying to determine where the fire started, and how.
"It's still under investigation," Stowell said.
A total of 31 apartments were impacted by fire, smoke and water damage. The Red Cross is providing lodging, health and mental health services and other emergency services to those individuals.
In an update Monday, investigators have determined the fire was accidental and began in the kitchen of a first floor unit. In total, firefighters rescued five people and a few pets from the second and third story windows using ground ladders while the fire was actively burning.