By Jeff Todd
ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)– The investigation into a deadly fire in Arvada continued as authorities released more information about those who died in the fire.
The Jefferson County coroner announced Monday that Tanya Marie Bell, 39, died from smoke inhalation. A 4-year-old girl also died from smoke inhalation from the fire that started around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Arvada Fire Protection District and Arvada Police Department are investigating the cause and the spread of the fire. That investigation is expected to take several days or possibly weeks.
A 911 call Saturday morning came from a woman who said she was trapped in her room. Seven people were inside including a family and two developmentally disabled people who had lived there since 2014.
The home is owned by Parker Personal Care Homes, a company that specializes in programs for the developmentally disabled.
The company’s Executive Director Scott Parker released the following statement Monday: “Parker Personal Care Homes, Inc. was established in 1995 with a mission to build an inclusive and supportive community for the people we serve. We pride ourselves on offering a variety of services and supports that allows our clients to grow and experience all that life has to offer. This includes the opportunity to choose a residential setting, participate in activities that they enjoy, or participate in work settings.
“The home in question was purchased by Parker in July of 2002. Prior to our purchase, it is believed to have been operated by another organization as a group home facility for four or more residents. However, since our purchase, it has not operated in that capacity. Since January 2014, the two disabled individuals residing in the home have been cared for by the same host home provider.”
“We are continuing to work closely with the Arvada Fire Department and other officials to determine the cause of this tragedy as the safety and well-being of our clients is our top priority. We also want to thank the countless phone calls and emails of love and support received from our friends, neighbors, stakeholders and community members during this time of tragedy.”
Patient privacy laws have prohibited the company and state organizations from confirming if Bell was a member of the family or an individual staying at the home.
State officials told CBS4 that host homes exist as an option so developmentally disabled individuals can live and be part of a community instead of being institutionalized.
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing oversees host home licensing and regulation. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is tasked with inspecting group and host homes. State records released to CBS4 show Parker Personal Care Homes, Inc. was last inspected for three days in July 2015 for recertification of its license. None of the issues raised by the state had to do with safety. The host home in Arvada was not required to be inspected as part of the recertification survey and wasn’t visited by the state.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.