Firefighters have completed gathering physical evidence from the scene of a large fire that burned an apartment complex under construction in North Capitol Hill, Denver Fire Department Chief Eric Tade said.
Fire crews will now begin forensically examining the evidence as they search for what caused the building near East 18th Avenue and Emerson Street to catch fire Wednesday afternoon. Two people were killed, and six other people were hurt.
Fire damaged 13 buildings, according to Andrea Burns, communications director for Denver’s Community Planning and Development office.
Businesses and residents have been allowed back into five of the damaged buildings, Burns said. Those are the buildings farthest from the fire. Eight buildings still don’t have power, water or gas, she said.
“Those buildings have multiple businesses and residents inside them and cover multiple addresses,” Burns said.
The city is requiring those buildings to go through a high-level assessment that includes inspection of electrical wiring and a general environmental safety analysis.
As part of the fire department’s forensic examination, evidence will be sent to a fire lab where investigators will look for fire patterns, including pour patterns.
Such patterns can tell investigators what direction a fire moved and eventually where it started.
Even small bits of evidence can be gathered to help determine a fire’s origin and cause.
Tade said in unrelated fires a single match has been found in the burned rubble and after being scientifically analyzed, determined to have started a fire.
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