Intentionally set fire displaces 100 people

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- A fire in an apartment complex in Mesa has displaced approximately 100 people.

Investigators with the police and fire departments believe the fire was intentionally set and they have detained a person of interest for questioning.

The fire started early Monday morning in a ground-floor unit and spread to shared attic space, ultimately causing damage to several dozen units.

The apartment building is at 2nd Ave. and Ashland, near Main St. and Horne.

"We opened the door. There was flames everywhere," said one resident. "We were so panicked we didn't even have time to grab our shoes. I was lucky I was able to put some decent clothes on my babies to get them outside. We didn't have time to grab anything but ourselves."

All of the residents made it out of their apartment safely.

"I heard someone saying 'get up, get up, get out. There's a fire.' and I opened their [children] door and I looked down and there's a fire down in the apartments and I go and get them out. I told them 'we got to go there's a fire.'" said resident Felicia Young.

"Try and get my family out of there, my cousins out of there. Try to open the window. I busted the back window...my cousins said it helped him clear out some of the smoke," said another resident.

The displaced residents were taken to a recreation center, and the American Red Cross says it is meeting with residents to determine their needs and provide assistance.

A firefighter injured his back but he is expected to be okay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report