By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A three-alarm fire early Thursday burned what was to be a slot home development. They were to be two rows of homes with seven units in each home sitting where two single-family homes once stood.

The blaze was so intense it looked like a staged Hollywood movie scene.

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Bill Power saw the flames and came to see what was happening.

“I was surprised number of embers hitting ground close by plus you can really feel the heat,” he said.

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The three alarms brought 100 firefighters to the location between 19th and 20th and Grove just west of Mile High Stadium.

The devastation to the 14 units was clear. One was already under contract to be used by the developer. What’s left of the Denver Grove is mainly ashes and a small bit of frame.

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What is not known is how the fire started.

Denver Fire Captain Greg Pixley said, “We know this fire should not have happened and we are going to treat every fire as if it was maliciously set until we can rule otherwise.”

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An arson dog scoured the scene looking for clues. Denver Fire investigators were joined by the ATF.

A quick look around this neighborhood reveals it is changing quickly. Where single homes once stood, they are now being replaced by dense residential housing.

Slot homes were banned for future development by the Denver City Council just this week. Neighbors argued that there were too many units for too little space.

Paula Guida owns property in the neighborhood where the fire occurred. She says there has been controversy over the rapid development with new townhomes.

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“It’s destroying the neighborhood and what’s being built is cheaply built fire hazards,” said Guida.

Some of the businesses on her property that have had to shut down because of the blaze. The task at hand now is to salvage whatever they can.

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This was the second large fire in three months at a construction site where new residential buildings were being built. In the March fire on Emerson Street, two people were killed.

No one was injured in the 19th and Grove fire.

The cause has not been determined in either blaze.

PHOTO GALLERY: Fire At Site Of Future Denver Slot Home Project

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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