Denver police release photo of masked suspects in fire that killed 5, including infant and toddler

West

DENVER (NewsNation) — Police released a surveillance photo Tuesday of three people believed to have started a house fire in suburban Denver that killed five people, including an infant and toddler.

NewsNation affiliate KDVR reported the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting in the arson investigation and working with the Denver Police Department to determine the cause of the fire in the early morning hours of Aug. 5.  

Denver Fire Department Capt. Greg Pixley said the victims’ bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished the blaze, which was first reported by a police officer at 2:40 a.m.

Investigators said the suspects, wearing full face masks and dark hoodies, fled the scene in a dark-colored four-door sedan after the fire was set in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, a relatively new development of homes near Denver International Airport.

Authorities are investigating the case as a homicide and have offered a $14,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for setting the blaze.

Joe Montoya, division chief of investigations for Denver police, would not elaborate on the evidence because he said he did not want to compromise the investigation.

The victims were identified as a married couple, 29-year-old Djibril Diol and 23-year-old Adja Diol, their toddler daughter, a family member, 25-year-old Hassan Diol, and her infant daughter.

Three other people — a man, woman and child — jumped from the second story of the home and survived, according to the Denver Fire Department. The man broke his foot.

NewsNation Denver affiliate FOX31 interviewed Djibril Diol’s father shortly after the fire.

“I lost my son. My good son. Son I love. A son that never give me a hard time,” Abdouaye Djibril said.

Family members have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of getting the victims’ bodies back to Senegal for a traditional burial since they were recent immigrants.

Some Muslim advocacy groups have called on police to consider the possibility of a hate crime, but Montoya has said detectives are looking at all possible angles to avoid getting “tunnel vision.”

Neighbor Maria Mendoza said she was awakened by noise and someone screaming, “Get the baby out! Get the baby out!” early Wednesday. She ran to a window and saw flames and plumes of smoke rising from the home just down the street.

“I awoke my husband, and he ran outside to see if he could help. But there was nothing he could do. The fire was too big,” Mendoza said.

A police officer tried to commence a rescue but was pushed back by the fire’s heat. Whether the smoke detectors were working is part of the investigation.

After the fire, Senegal President Macky Sall tweeted in French that he was monitoring the investigation closely, and he wished the surviving victims a speedy recovery. Senegal Consul General Elhadji Ndao flew to Denver at the request of his country’s leaders and said he is looking forward to the investigation.

“We trust and have confidence in the legal system in this country and this city, and we have confidence that the investigation will take its course and what is proper in terms of diligence will be done,” he said, standing in front of the remnants of the charred home.

Ndao, who was joined by members of the Senegalese community who gathered to mourn the victims, added, “It’s unfortunate that a whole family was gone in this tragic event.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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