Denver police investigating arson house fire that killed Senegalese family of 5

The community responds overwhelmingly and raises almost $200K to send the family's remains back to Africa

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A house fire killed three adults and two children who were Senegalese immigrants and it is being investigated as a homicide. Authorities have determined that fire was intentionally set by someone who fled the area. 

Djibril and Adja Diol and their 3-year-old daughter, Kadidia, died along with Hassan Diol and her infant daughter, Hawa Beye. Djibril Diol was an engineer and the brother of Hassan Diol.

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According to a local news station KMOV4, Joe Montoya, division chief for investigations at the Denver Police Department, said the fire was deliberately set but would not discuss details. 

“I cannot get into the details right now. We are relying on the expertise of the Denver Fire arson investigators, the ATF, and some of the evidence collected at the scene,” Montoya said. 

He also said that the investigators are being “very open-minded” and looking “at every possible angle.” 

The Colorado chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations is calling for an investigation into the idea of racial bias. 

“Because the family members who perished in this tragedy are members of minority and immigrant communities, it would only be prudent to investigate the possibility of a bias motive,” said Krista Cole, acting board chair for CAIR-Colorado.

Montoya said that “if at some point we determine it was hate-motivated or bias-motivated, then we will definitely share that with the community.”

Denver mayor, Michael Hancock, expressed his condolences to the family and encouraged the community to contribute to a GoFundMe for the family to help send their remains to their homeland. 

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“We are saddened by the loss of a loving Dad, a nurturing husband, and a caring brother to all of us,” the GoFundMe reads, “Please help the family with the cost of sending the bodies back home for a proper burial.”

At the time of publishing, the community has raised over $178,000, more than the initial goal of $150,000.

The family lived on the lower level of a two-family home. All five perished, while the family upstairs jumped to safety. 

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