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Brothers sift through belongings a week after home set on fire in arson spree

Nau brothers
Posted at 9:55 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 00:22:46-04

OLD COLORADO CITY — It's been more than a week since an Old Colorado City home belonging to two brothers went up in flames, destroying almost everything inside. Colorado Springs Police said an arsonist set fire to the house and several other vehicles down the street.

Erik and Trevor Nau are still sifting through the damage inside their home on West Pikes Peak Avenue and recounting what happened the night of the fire last Sunday.

Nau brothers' home
The Nau brothers said they lost almost everything after their Old Colorado City home was set on fire by a suspected arsonist on Sunday April, 28.

"We went out for some food and got a call from my neighbor saying that my vehicle exploded in the driveway, that my house is on fire," said Erik. "When we got here, the house was fully engulfed. All we could think about was the dog in the house and getting him out."

Erik's dog, Max, was inside the home during the fire, but thankfully firefighters were able to rescue him. He said the three-year-old dog is doing better after spending several days at the veterinarian, however, he's still dealing with the after-effects of smoke inhalation.

Erik Nau's dog, Max, was rescued from the home by first responders. Nau said the three-year-old dog is still dealing with issues related to inhaling smoke during the fire.

"He was in poor condition when he came out, supposedly unconscious when they found him... an immense weight off the shoulders that he was safe," said Erik.

Erik said his security camera that faced the driveway showed footage of the suspect, 28-year-old Bernie Hidalgo, allegedly setting fire to his Jeep parked outside the garage.

Erik Nau said the suspected arsonist started the fire inside his Jeep that was parked in the driveway in front of the garage.

Police arrested Hidalgo that night after a shelter-in-place was ordered near 21st Street and Armstrong Avenue. Arrest papers said the suspect told police he started the fire at the Nau's property in the Jeep using his lighters and a paper receipt found in the vehicle. The arrest documents said Hidalgo told police he started the fires because he was "angry."

"That was extremely troubling to hear that somebody is going through the neighborhood and lighting multiple fires throughout the neighborhood. It's just terrible," he said.

After the fire spread inside their home, the two brothers said almost nothing was salvageable. On Tuesday afternoon, nine days after the fire, they continued to comb through what was left, wearing N-95 masks as they combed through rooms covered in soot. Trevor said a picture of their late father was one of the only surviving photographs.

Nau brothers home
The kitchen inside the Nau brothers' home is now a burnt mess of melted metal and soot after the fire last Sunday night.
Trevor Nau
Trevor Nau wears an N95 mask while pointing out a burnt wall inside his Old Colorado City home.
Picture of Mr. Nau
A photo of Trevor and his late father was one of the only pictures to survive the flames.

"It was a total loss. They're just going to cut everything and start throwing it in this dumpster and then tearing off drywall and taking everything down to the studs," said Trevor.

The brothers have started the extensive process to repair the damage, hoping to move back into their home someday.

For now, they're thankful for the quick response from first responders and have a new appreciation for the things that are truly irreplaceable in life.

"The response from the first responders was immediate," said Trevor. "You start to realize you lost everything, but focus on what you actually still have."

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