Updated: October 17, 2012 9:14AM
DENVER — Denver police believe a bar was set fire to hide the slayings of the five people found inside who apparently were killed by other means.
The blaze at Fero’s Bar & Grill was reported around closing time at 2 a.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Robert White said.
Firefighters responding to the fire found four women and one man dead inside the bar. Police don’t think they died in the fire.
“The business has obviously been set on fire, an arson, I’m guessing, to mask the homicide that occurred inside,” said police Commander Ronald Saunier.
“There is just trauma, enough information to believe that we have a homicide that occurred here. They didn’t perish in the fire.”
The bar is located in a strip mall about five miles south of downtown Denver on one of the city’s busiest streets, Colorado Boulevard. It serves bar food and a few Asian dishes. Other businesses in the strip mall include a check cashing store.
The bar’s owner couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The five are believed to be the only ones in the bar when the fire started — other than whoever is responsible for their deaths —so police are asking anyone else who was at the place earlier to come forward, as investigators try to piece together what happened.
The victims haven’t been identified. Autopsies were expected to be completed later in the day.