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Fire chief: Two people unaccounted for in two-alarm blaze at The Covington on Cherry Creek

Posted at 2:33 AM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 08:22:21-05

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A two-alarm fire displaced 48 residents Sunday night at The Covington on Cherry Creek Apartment Complex, on South Trenton Way near East Iliff Avenue.

Fire officials said two people are unaccounted for, but since we're still in the midst of the holidays, that may not be cause for alarm.

The blaze apparently broke out on the third floor of Building 4.

South Metro Fire spokesman Eric Hurst said they began receiving 911 calls around 8 p.m.

"As crews were heading to the scene, they could see flames from several blocks away," he said. "So they called in a second alarm."

Hurst added that the first crews on the scene saw flames shooting from a balcony and burning into an attic.

Tenant David Hobbs told Denver7 that he was watching the Titans and Colts game on T.V. when he heard something drop down onto his balcony.

"I jumped over the rail, saw the fire and flames and immediately started knocking on doors to let people know, get out, the building is on fire," he said.

Hobbs said the fire spread quickly.

"I saw the flames," he said. "By the time I started knocking on doors and getting everyone aware of what was happening, it quadrupled in size."

He said he thought the whole building was "going to go."

Two women who were soaking in a hot tub told Denver7 that they noticed the lights begin to flicker, and then smelled smoke.

"We were like, 'What's that smell?'" one of them said. "We turned around and flames were just shooting into the air, and people were like, 'Get out of the hot tub,' and everybody started running."

Hurst said firefighters had battled the blaze for nearly an hour when they noticed part of the building was starting to collapse.

"We transitioned into a defensive strategy, pulling firefighters out of the building and focusing on fighting it from outside," he said.

He said both Aurora and Denver Fire Departments were providing mutual aid.

Hurst said there are 24 units in Building 4 and that 12 were damaged.

"The Red Cross responded to assist displaced residents," he said.

Fire crews remained on scene through the night to extinguish hot spots and to monitor potential flare-ups.

Hurst said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.