UPDATE: Cleveland apartment fire ruled as arson by investigators - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Cleveland apartment fire ruled as arson by investigators

Posted: Updated:
Photo by WRCB photojournalist Harrison White. Photo by WRCB photojournalist Harrison White.
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

Cleveland fire officials say the fire at a local apartment complex Tuesday night was intentionally set.

It happened around 7:45 p.m. at 563 Central Avenue.

Cleveland police spokeswoman Evie West said the fire started in vacant apartment number 3. Apartment number 1 was also vacant. 

Several reports of entrapment came in to the 911 center. West said firefighters safely evacuated the families from the remaining four apartments.

Heavy smoke caused damage throughout the building, leaving all of the families homeless. 

Jeff Brewer, the property manager, told Channel 3 the tenant who was living in the vacant apartment 3, was evicted prior to the fire and had been living there for three months. Brewer said the tenant was out of the home during the day on Tuesday, while crews cleaned out the apartment. He also said the door was locked after crews left.  

Arson investigator Ben Atchley conducted an investigation into the cause. Atchley sent the following statement: 

"An origin and cause investigation was conducted and we believe the fire was set intentionally. The overall investigation is still ongoing as we develop suspects/persons of interest."

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story. 

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