Denver police are puzzled by the late-night murder of four women and a man inside a bar that was then set on fire.
Fero's Bar & Grill erupted into flames early this morning shortly before closing time following a quiet night of drinking and poker, according to bar patrons. As firefighters battled the flames, they pulled five individuals from the fire, all of whom were dead and showed signs of traumatic homicide, police said this afternoon.
Authorities are asking bar patrons or witnesses to come forward with any information about how the homicides may have occurred. The police are currently canvassing the neighborhood seeking surveillance video, and are processing some tips, according to police chief Robert White.
"We'd like to think it's an isolated incident but we can't say that with any certainty," White said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "It's very alarming, that 's why it's important we investigate it to the fullest."
Police believe all of the individuals were killed by some sort of trauma before the fire began, and did not die in the fire, they said.
"More than likely [this was] an attempt to conceal the homicide with an arson," Denver police commander Ron Saunier said.
Denver Fire Lt. Phil Champagne said there was extensive fire damage in the bar, and speculated that the fire would have been difficult to survive if the victims had not already died, according to ABC News affiliate KMGH.
The names of the individuals have not been released by the coroner's office.
Champagne said the fire department received a call around 1:50 a.m. about a fire at the bar. The bar typically closes at 2 a.m., according to police.
Bar patron Tim Johnson told KMGH that the bar was quiet Tuesday night, as he and other regulars played poker. He left the bar around 10:45 p.m., he said, though other players remained after he left.
The incident is being investigated as an arson-homicide, police said.