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Fire chief calling 2 overnight fires 'suspicious'

11:54 AM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - A brown house in the 900 block of Tennyson Street is now black after a fire consumed the home early Thursday morning. Investigators are calling the blaze suspicious.

The homeowner said his house doesn't have gas or electricity, and no one lives there.

A Denver Fire Department District Fire Chief says there was nothing in the house that would indicate the fire was started by a natural cause.

The homeowner says he bought the house about a year ago and was just beginning to renovate it.

Nick Jones, who lives in a duplex next door, was one of the first people who noticed the fire.

"For the first couple moments when we heard there was a fire, we weren't sure what to do. There was this moment of panic," Jones said.

Jones ran next door to wake his neighbors who also live in the duplex and then called 911.

"It was very surreal, but I think ... frantic [is] probably the best way to describe it," Jones said. "I wasn't scared. I was mostly worried about getting everybody out of the house."

When firefighters arrived, the vacant home was completely engulfed in flames, and flames were coming very close to the neighboring duplex. It took firefighters a little more than 20 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.

The vacant home is a total loss, and the duplex suffered only minor damage.

Firefighters say a fire that broke out a half-an-hour earlier - just three blocks away from the home - is also suspicious.

At 12:06 a.m., Denver Fire Department dispatchers were notified of a power pole that was on fire in the 1100 block of Stuart Street.

Fire investigators are working to determine the cause and origin of both fires and whether they are related.

There have been several suspicious fires in recent weeks along the Front Range.

Fire investigators have not said if any of the suspicious fires in recent weeks are suspected to be related or unrelated.

Dumpster fires in east Denver

One week ago, Denver firefighters were kept busy for several hours putting out Dumpster fires. Four Dumpsters in the alley behind the 1600 block of Willow Street caught fire, and one Dumpster in the 1500 block of Beeler Street also caught fire within a few hours of each other.

The Dumpster fires were all declared suspicious and are still under investigation.

Howe Mortuary & Cremation Services fire

On May 28, a fire destroyed Howe Mortuary & Cremation Services in downtown Longmont.

Arson investigators determined someone set fire to a Dumpster under an exhaust fan, which allowed the fire to quickly spread into the building.

The Boulder County Coroner recovered and identified all seven bodies that were in the mortuary at the time of the fire.

The owner of the mortuary, Jeff Howe, plans to rebuild.

According to Howe Mortuary's website the Howe Family has been associated with funeral service since 1898 and has owned Howe Mortuary and Cremation Services since 1909.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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