By Alan Gionet

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A 37-year-old woman is accused of starting the fire that had people fleeing an Aurora apartment complex early Monday morning and leaving a child dead. Alondra Michel is accused of first-degree murder, first-degree arson and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Alondra Michel (credit: Aurora Police)

“Honestly I don’t think three attempted murder charges are enough. She put at least 12 to 30 people in jeopardy,” said Irving John Sikink, who lived in the next building over and helped rescue people from the fire.

Sikink and fellow neighbor David Eversaul helped people who jumped from upper floors of the building as the fire moved rapidly upwards.

“By the time we got out there we couldn’t reach the second floor. So everybody that was able to get out was just coming out the windows.”

Video from Eversaul’s cameras captured some of the evacuation.

(credit: David Eversaul)

“It probably took 5 minutes before everybody had to be out or they were going to pass away,” said Eversaul.

Frantic efforts were made to try to help the family of the 5-year-old child who died.

“My heart really goes out to the mom,” said neighbor Jazmine Murray.

Murray was haunted by the cries of the boy’s mother.

(credit: CBS)

“Just the screams of her coming out, ‘Save my baby, save my baby!’ And my neighbor couldn’t. He tried and flames just … just were too much for him.”

The boy played with other children in the complex, where many were immigrant families.

“I literally just saw him days before like playing and running around.”

(credit: CBS)

Michel is accused of starting a fire in a ground floor apartment in a domestic incident. A CBS4 check of her record showed charges relating to an alleged alcohol-related driving incident in February of 2021 in Weld County, in which she was also accused of driving without insurance. A bench warrant was issued Monday.

The largely wood construction complex burned rapidly after the fire started. Word of the arrest of Michel led rescuers Eversaul and Sikink thinking.

“Yeah it’s like, that’s your excuse? It’s not acceptable. In any sort of way,” said Eversaul.

Video from his cameras shows a man dropping from a second floor balcony to the ground, being helped by Sikink. The man walks away. But not all were so lucky. On the other side of the building Eversaul helped a husband and wife escape.

“So they dropped two of their dogs first and then his wife jumped out, broke her hip. And then he jumped out after that.”

Police did not indicate what Michel lit ablaze, but that she had started the fire inside the ground floor apartment. The rapid spread was apparent. The boy was found inside a second floor unit.

The District Attorney’s office in Arapahoe County will follow up with formal charges for Michel, who was arrested Monday by Aurora police.

Alan Gionet