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Cops: Denver bar set on fire to cover five murders

Denver police believe a bar was set fire to hide the killings of the five people found inside. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

Updated at 11:11 a.m.: Five people found dead inside a torched Denver bar were killed before the building was set on fire, officials said Wednesday.

Denver police Det. John White confirmed the deaths of four women and one man at Fero's Bar & Grill.

“It appears there was some trauma to the bodies – it also appears to be arson,” White told reporters at a morning briefing, the Denver Post reported.

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Police and fire officials said they are investigating the incident as an arson-homicide, the Denver Post reported.

Denver Police Cmdr. Ron Saunier said detectives believe the victims were killed before the fire started and the blaze was set to mask the homicide, 9news.com reported.

"It's going to be a long, drawn-out investigation at this point," Saunier said, according to the Post.

The names of the victims were not immediately released, and autopsies were pending. Police do not believe anyone else was in the bar at the time.

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Firefighters were first called to the scene at 1:47 a.m. Wednesday, and the fire was declared under control around 2:22 a.m.

The small bar is situated between a check-cashing business and a tailor shop in a strip mall on Colorado Blvd.

This is a breaking news story - please check back for further updates.

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