LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) — Early Sunday morning, an accidental fire destroyed two homes, caused massive damage to a third, and forced approximately a dozen other homes to be evacuated, as gusty winds created a “dense ember shower” in the Roxborough neighborhood of Littleton.
“It was pretty bad,” said a neighbor, who wished to be identified as Dave.
“I woke up about 2:30 a.m. because of the smell of smoke. Checked my own house, then looked out my south bedroom window and saw flames going way above the roofs of the houses,” he said.
When crews first arrived to the 7600 block of Jared Way, three homes were already involved, according to West Metro Fire.
“Strong winds spread flames from home of origin to others,” officials stated.
At 5:10 a.m., officials said about a dozen homes on the block were evacuated, “as a dense ember shower” fell on neighboring homes.
“There was a huge ember shower going on at the time, where the wind was just kicking up embers from the fire and just spreading them throughout the neighborhood,” said West Metro Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Ronda Scholting.
A third house ignited from that ember shower, and because of that, West Metro firefighters evacuated a dozen homes in the neighborhood.
“A fire could honestly easily hop, driven by the wind, from a house to a tree, to the fence, to the next house, then on down the block,” said Scholting.
West Metro Firefighters eventually got the fire under control, but stayed on scene, battling wind-driven hotspots well after daylight.
Everyone in the homes made it out, but a dog and two cats are still unaccounted for.
After seeing the destruction in the daylight, neighbors are relieved no persons were killed.
“I’m just glad to hear everyone got out OK,” said Dave.
Fire investigators haven’t been able to determine the cause of the fire, but they say they believe it was accidental.
“Two homes are a total loss, a third home has an estimated $100,000 in damage,” officials updated after 7 a.m.
Officials said investigators will be able to get in and start looking for a cause after the hotspots are taken care of and there is no further danger of collapse.