Five bodies were found inside a burned Denver bar early Wednesday, victims of an apparent homicide.
Denver Police Chief Robert White said the call came in around 1:50 a.m. reporting a fire at Fero's Bar and Grill.
Firefighters battling the blaze discovered the bodies of four women and one man inside.
"It appears there was some trauma to the bodies. It also appears to be an arson," White said at an impromptu 5:30 a.m. news conference.
White would not elaborate on the nature of the trauma.
Ron Saunier, commander of the Denver Police Major Crimes Unit, said he believes the victims did not perish in the fire and the blaze was set to mask the homicide.
"It's going to be a long, drawn-out investigation at this point," Saunier said.
The names of the victims were not immediately released, and autopsies were pending.
At this time, police believe there was no one else in the bar at the time.
Police are asking anyone who may have been in the bar Tuesday night or Wednesday morning to cspeak with authorities.
The bar is owned by Young Suk Fero, 63, who bought the bar in 1984 with Danny Fero, now her ex-husband.
Danny Fero, of Aurora, said he heard about the deaths while watching TV on Wednesday morning. A retired federal employee, he said when he and his wife divorced she got ownership of the bar.
The small strip-mall bar is sandwiched between a check-cashing business and Eric's Custom Tailors Alterations.
The front of the building advertises burgers, steaks and Italian cuisine. A life-sized poster of a woman in a bikini stands beside a giant bottle of Budweiser just right of the entrance.
The bar has pool tables, plays golden oldies tunes and serves Japanese food as well.