Mother, daughter homeless after apartment fire in Tempe

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A mother and her teenage daughter are homeless after an early morning fire forced dozens to be evacuated from a Tempe apartment complex Thursday.

A resident who was leaving for work spotted the fire just after 3:30 a.m.

"He was driving through the parking lot when he looked over and he saw the flicker of the flames," Assistant Chief John Valenzuela of the Tempe Fire Department said.

With the fire growing fast, that neighbor woke the mother and daughter and hustled them out of their second-floor apartment as he called 911.

Between 20 and 30 more residents of the Rancho Murietta apartment complex, which is northwest of Broadway Road and McClintock Drive, were evacuated as a precaution. Those residents have since been allowed back into their apartments.

Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the flames and contain the damage to a single unit. That unit, however, is a total loss.

No injuries were reported.

While it's not yet clear what sparked the fire, investigators believe it started inside. It's not known if the apartment was equipped with working smoke detectors.

The Red Cross is assisting the mother and daughter.