DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police are asking for the public’s help and information in the case of a deadly house fire that killed five members of a family. On Friday, there were still many questions about a possible suspect or how the fire was started.
“There were several cameras in the area and we’re still examining that evidence and hopefully it’ll produce some information that will help us solve this crime,” said Denver Police Division Chief Joe Montoya at a news conference on Friday afternoon.
The fire broke out Wednesday morning and spread quickly. Three adults were able to escape the house. Djibril Diol died in the fire that investigators have called arson and opened up a homicide investigation. Four other people including Diol’s wife, daughter, sister, and niece also died.
“Fires, by their very nature, destroy things. Things fall down, things get burned up,” said Bob Toth, the CEO of Iris Fire Investigations.
Toth is not involved in this investigation but has 30 years of experience investigating fires with criminal intent.
“It is like a jigsaw puzzle. But if I gave you a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and without you looking I took a handful of pieces away, and threw them away, I would suspect you could still put that puzzle together and understand what the picture is even though we’ve got a few pieces missing. You develop a few working hypotheses in a fire investigation,” Toth said. “When fire is used as a weapon it really is a crime against people.”
Toth says the fire science investigation can take a lot of time.
“You’ve got all these different legs of the investigation, all these different subject matter experts. You’ve got the fire origin and cause people, you’ve got the homicide investigation people, you probably have the coroner involved,” he said. “We’ll look at patterns, we’ll look at where the fire spread, we’ll look at a lot of times we’ll have multiple areas within a structure where a fire was set and that’s not typically the way fires burn.”
A $14,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. Denver Police also asked in English and French for anyone with information to come forward and help the investigation.
When asked about a suspect or suspicious vehicle for the public to look out for Denver Police weren’t ready to give specifics.
“It’ll hurt the case at this point,” said Montoya.