ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — An Adams County family is starting from scratch after a man with a knife allegedly broke into their home and set it on fire early Wednesday morning.
Adams County Fire responded to a house fire on 80th Avenue, east of Federal Boulevard, just before 3 a.m. Jennifer Jensen and her 13-year-old son, Zaide Taul, were home when the man broke in.
“I look over, and this door was closed, there is glass here and the man was standing here with his back facing to me,” said Zaide, describing the shirtless man he saw holding a knife at his family’s front door.
Jensen was in the basement wrapping presents for a late Christmas celebration with family who would soon be arriving in town.
“I went downstairs and was like, ‘Mom, there's someone in our backyard.' And then I look back up and I see a rock flying through the window and this glass shattered,” said Zaide.
The mother and son ran downstairs and grabbed a broom for protection. They told Denver7 they could hear the man inside their home.
“Thankfully there's a back basement door that goes upstairs into the backyard,” said Jensen.
Investigators suspect arson in Adams Co. fire that killed dogs, injured person
The two ran out the back basement door — without shoes or coats — and hopped a fence. They said they pounded on their neighbor’s door for help while calling 9-1-1.
The neighbor never answered the door, but Adams County Fire and deputies with the Adams County Sheriff's Office quickly arrived. That’s when the family said they started seeing smoke.
“I was yelling to the firefighters, 'Our dogs are in there,'" said Jensen.
The family’s pets, Roxy and Marseille, were killed in the fire.
Adam’s County deputies tried getting the suspect out of the home and later found him in the family’s basement. He was taken to the hospital.
The sheriff's office said several burglaries were reported near the home before the fire. Investigators are working to determine if the suspect is connected to the burglaries.
The family said their basement is now destroyed. The ceiling is caving in, and their belongings are covered in soot and ash. Jensen operated her small jewelry business out of the basement.
While the suspect destroyed her home and put her family in harm's way, Jensen said she hopes the man who did so much damage is okay.
“I don't wish ill will on him at all,” said Jensen.
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