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Arson investigation underway for fire at Loretto Heights campus

loretto heights arson.png
Posted at 12:22 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 02:22:07-04

DENVER — The Denver Fire Department is investigating a fire at the historic Loretto Heights campus believed to be started on purpose.

Sometime before 8:30 a.m. Thursday flames were spotted burning from a pile of trees on the Loretto Heights campus.

No buildings were threatened and no one was hurt.

DFD says the fire is being investigated as an arson. A fire investigator and fire accelerant K9 detector were on the scene to figure out what happened.

According to Councilman Kevin Flynn, the pile of timber that was burned was set up for recycling and donation to local woodworkers, sawmills and sculptors who wanted to repurpose the trees that were removed.

This comes after neighbors around Loretto Heights gathered Sunday to grieve the removal of many large trees as redevelopment moves forward.

The former 72-acre school campus located at Federal Boulevard and Dartmouth Avenue was sold in July 2019 to a Denver-based developer, Westside Investment Partners. The project manager says plans include planting over 1,000 new trees on the property.

Council voted to approve an ordinance for rezoning to allow the project, slated to be transformed into a mixed-use development with commercial and residential space, including affordable housing. Westside Investment partners plans to preserve the history of the campus, including the original bell tower and the cemetery where 62 nuns are buried.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing.