Neighbors say apartment fire was intentionally set

Created: 05/19/2014 6:10 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Dozens of families were let back into their homes Monday after an apartment fire in southeast Albuquerque.

Many neighbors say the fire was intentionally started.

Management of the Casa Bella Apartment Complex told KOB Eyewitness News 4 the tenants belonging to the unit where the apartment started received an eviction notice days before the fire.

The Albuquerque Fire Department evacuated about 40 people from surrounding units Sunday night.

“I just started screaming at everyone, fire!” said nearby resident Ismael Hernandez.

Dozens of neighbors told KOB they believe the fire was started on purpose.

Some say they even saw the tenant enter the apartment and leave a half-hour before they spotted flames in the window.

“We heard he kicked in the door, took his stuff and set the place on fire for vengeance, which is horrible,” said Chris Rimorin. His family lives in the next building over.

He says if it is arson, this tenant put a lot of families in danger.

“All the children always play in this building right here,” he said.

Monday, most residents were let back in but three apartments were a total loss.

Two families were placed in a hotel until they find a new place to call new home.

An AFD spokesperson says the cause of this fire is still under investigation.

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