GLENDALE, Colo. (CBS4) – A federal team has been activated to help investigate what started a large fire in Glendale that happened on Saturday night.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says there was more than $12 million in damages in a five-story building on South Cherry Street and East Kentucky Avenue that was under construction,.
The heat from the fire was so intense that an apartment complex across the street ended up with melted cars. Part of a neighboring building caught fire as well and windows were blown out.
The ATF is now involved in the investigation because of how large scale it was and they’re working to determine if the fire was arson.
“It was so hot. The heat was just like pushing people away,” witness Mohammed Alfarra said.
The flames were not only hot, but could be seen 30 miles away. The building was five stories high, under construction in the framing stage. People living across the street woke to an orange glow around 11:45 p.m.
“I looked outside and saw the fire and immediately went outside,” evacuee Kyle Godard said.
Alfarra rushed to help neighbors. He knocked on doors trying to evacuate people and took cellphone video.
“I was like scared, but at the same time I was like, ‘No, I need to help people. Who needs help?’ ” Alfarra said.
Officers also kicked in doors trying to wake people and ensure everyone was evacuated. On Monday morning crews worked to replace the broken doors. Car after car at the apartment complex was melted from the fire’s heat.
“It was very intense. It was melting everything over here,” Godard said.
People in communities as far away as Evergreen and Castle Rock reported they could see the fire while it was burning.
“I couldnt believe how high the flames were, like 100 feet over the crane,” said witness Nick Golbahar.
Just before midnight Saturday Golbahar woke up as light burst through his 15th floor apartment window.
“I thought it was the next day because it was so bright, I thought the sun was out. I looked out my blinds and I saw the whole four story structure on fire,” said Golbahar.
ATF agents along with Denver fire investigators will move in equipment to remove the collapsed debris from the building to find fire points. They will comb through the 15,000 square foot lot to determine if the three alarm fire is arson or not.
The investigation teams will reconstruct the scene, identify the fire origin, do interviews and sift through the debris.