By Michael Abeyta
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday morning the Westbury Apartments in Westminster caught fire. Jacob Hughes saw the scene unfold before his eyes.
“The smoke was kind of creeping through the parking lot here. I saw flames initially in the bottom corridor,” he said.
An apartment building with 69 units burned. Residents say it was a frightening scene.
“It spread extremely quick,” Hughes said.
Brice Carpenter also witnessed the fire. “I was scared” he said, “It looked like hell fire.”
Residents of the burning building scrambled to get out, some even jumped from second and third story windows to escape. Neighbors from adjacent building rushed to help.
“There were young men running through here left and right trying to get people out of here,” Hughes said.
Firefighters arrived on scene to rescue people and get the fire under control. Ten people were taken to the hospital and two people died; one at the hospital and a second was found inside.
The rest of managed to escape.
“I’m actually pretty happy that a lot of people got out safely, but I’m sad that two people died,” Carpenter said.
Firefighters spent Sunday searching the building for people and pets. Residents from all but one apartment had been accounted for. Carpenter and Hughes say the Westbury Apartments community will help those who lost their homes as much as they can.
“We will always be there for each other” said Carpenter.
Investigators say teams won’t be able to move inside the building until tomorrow at the earliest because of instability issues. The American Red Cross helped residents through most of the day, but have since demobilized their shelter. Residents who still need help can call Red Cross at 1-800-417-0495.
Any witnesses to the fire who may have left the scene are asked to contact Westminster Dispatch at 303-658-4360.