Charlotte Fire Department officials said an apartment fire on Farm Pond Lane that injured multiple people and left more than 100 people without homes was intentionally set.
Seven people were rushed to the hospital, three with serious injuries, as firefighters worked to put out a 3-alarm fire at the Woodscape apartments Monday morning. Officials said 130 residents were displaced due to the fire.
It took more than 50 Charlotte Fire Department firefighters an hour to put out the heavy flames they encountered when they arrived on scene.
"This fire had a major head start on us," Battalion Chief Rob Cannon said. "The building was heavily involved when we got here so it’s a tight space back there so they had difficulty maneuvering."
Witnesses told WBTV that residents were jumping from their windows to escape the blaze.
"I opened my door and all I saw was flames," said Renee Mack, a woman who lives in the complex. "I didn't hear no smoke alarm, no sprinklers, no nothing... We just pretty much just started running."
Neighbors say they saw a family jumped from the third floor, including a four-year-old girl who went down head first.
The Red Cross says 40 apartment units were damaged and they are still trying to track down the property manager. The displaced residents were assisted on scene and Albemarle Road Middle opened a temporary shelter for them.
The Red Cross is also assisting the displaced residents by offering financial assistance for food, clothing, lodging and other items. CATS buses were also on scene to shelter and transport displaced residents.
The New Hope Baptist Church at 7841 Idlewild Road, is accepting clothing donations for families impacted by the fire. Clothing donations will be accepted Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The church also operates a food pantry.
Firefighters said the building is inspected every three years, and that no violations were found during the last inspection. They also said every unit had smoke detectors installed. "Numerous units" were inspected, and "all had working detectors."
Officials estimate that the blaze caused approximately $300,000 in damage.