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Durango townhouse fire leaves one person dead, others injured

DURANGO, Colo. (KRQE) - It's something they haven't seen for years in their quiet town -- a deadly apartment fire in Durango has left people in shock.

Flames swept through the building sending residents out into the dark, thankful to be alive. However, one didn't make it.

It's a sight people in Durango won't forget.

"We were lying in bed sleeping and my wife and I heard a bunch of screaming and what sounded like gunshots, so I jumped out of bed," Jonathan Griego said.

Jonathan Griego rushed to the scene from down the street to help residents fleeing from the engulfed building.

"As soon as I ran out, there was people scattering everywhere, like a bunch of ants running ragged. It was quite a horrific scene for a while," he said.

Fire crews also rushed to the scene and began battling the blaze, and evacuating the apartments. The blaze was so strong, it completely incinerated a car.

The fire chief says it will take some time before they determine a cause for this fire.

"After the fire was completely knocked down and we were able to get inside the fire apartments, we unfortunately found one fire victim still remaining inside who was found deceased," Durango Fire and Rescue Chief Hal Doughty said.

Griego realized one of the apartments was home to his cousin. After a long waiting process, he learned the tragic news.

"Detectives kept going back and forth and finally confirmed that it was in their apartment, and confirmed that it was a male. And he was the only other male that was in the house," Griego said.

A mother and two children were taken to the hospital, the two of them airlifted to Denver.

The Durango Herald reports the victim that died is 24-year-old Kevin Abeyta, a Durango native.

The chief says this is the first fatal fire in Durango in six years.

    

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