WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)– The deadly fire that claimed two lives and destroyed dozens of apartments in Westminster was intentionally set. Now it’s being investigated as a homicide and arson.
The Westbury Apartment Complex with 69 units located at 1585 West 115th Avenue in Westminster caught fire just after 2 a.m. July 22.
The coroner’s office said Lea Hamel, 41, from Venice, Florida and Margaret Kelly, 58, of Westminster died due to “fire related injuries.” Fourteen other people were hurt, some of them critically.
Cynthia and Danae Morales were saved by Kelly, who woke them up in the middle of the night. The two jumped from their third floor apartment. Cynthia was critically injured and has needed multiple surgeries.
“She tried even saving the dogs. That just shows you what a caring person she was,” said Noemi Morales of Kelly.
Morales has been at the hospital with her mother, Cynthia, since the fire.
“My mom does not deserve it. She’s worked two jobs all her life, but God does things for a reason and he thinks my family is strong enough to survive it,” Noemi said.
The Morales family says they are angry knowing the fire was set intentionally and want justice.
“My sister is hurting because someone was pissed off at 2 in the morning, you know? Who knows what they were on or what they were doing?”
Residents of the burning building scrambled to get out, others jumped from second and third story windows to escape. Neighbors from adjacent building rushed to help.
“This has been a collaborative effort,” said NRT Team Leader Dixon Robin. “ATF appreciates the hard work and professionalism of the Westminster Police and Fire Departments in processing this complex fire scene and conducting the subsequent follow-up investigation.”
Officials say 140 people were forced out of their homes by the fire.
Additional Information from Westminster Police:
Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact the Westminster Police Department at 303-658-4360.
As of noon Tuesday, the property will be released to management at Westbury Apartments. All residents with concerns or questions about retrieving personal items should contact property management at 303-452-0032. The Westminster Police Department will no longer be responsible for the property.