2 die, 15 hurt in Aurora apartment building fire

August 7, 2012 - 6:36 PM
Deadly Apartment Fire

The facade is charred and the windows are broken after a fire at an apartment building in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo. Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. Two people were killed and 15 injured in the Monday night fire that forced some residents to jump from the four-story building as neighbors rushed to help. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; NO INTERNET

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Two people were killed and 15 injured in a fire that engulfed an apartment building in the Denver suburb of Aurora, forcing some residents to jump from the four-story building as neighbors rushed to help.

After the fire broke out Monday night, a man dropped a boy, thought to be about 2, from the fourth floor and into the arms of Oterian Scott, The Denver Post reported. The man then jumped into a canopy that neighbors moved next to the building.

Scott, 25, said he and a friend held up an extension ladder so it would reach a woman on the fourth floor. He said she managed to climb down the wobbly ladder.

Ted Krmpotich told the newspaper that he couldn't open his apartment door at first, but when he did "there was a wall of fire" in the hallway outside. He said he ran to a window, took out the screen and was getting ready to jump when a police officer appeared. He said he jumped into the officer's arms.

Fire Capt. Allen Robnett said numerous people were rescued with ladders.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Firefighters were looking into a witness report that someone with a gas can left the building, Robnett said.

The apartment building is near the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, where some victims of last month's Aurora theater shooting were taken and where suspect James Holmes studied. It's also about a block away from Holmes' apartment, but Robnett said there's nothing to indicate a connection with the shooting.

The fire has left the residents of 24 units without homes. The Red Cross has set up a shelter for them and has purchased some new clothes for them since many escaped in their pajamas, spokeswoman Patricia Billinger said.

Many of the injured were treated at hospitals and released Tuesday. University of Colorado Hospital still had one patient in fair condition and one in good condition Tuesday afternoon, spokesman Dan Weaver said.