Man charged in massive east Charlotte apartment fire that injure - | WBTV Charlotte

Man charged in massive east Charlotte apartment fire that injured 7, displaced 130

(Credit: Charlotte Fire Department) (Credit: Charlotte Fire Department)
Lopez (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office) Lopez (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

A man accused of setting an east Charlotte apartment on fire, injuring 7 and displacing 130, has been arrested.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged 20-year-old Jesus Reyes Lopez in the massive fire Monday morning at the Woodscape Apartments on Farm Pond Lane. 

Seven people were rushed to the hospital, three with serious injuries, as firefighters worked to put out the 3-alarm fire. 

The fire, which officials say was intentionally set, caused around $1.3 million in damage. 

RELATED: Charlotte FD: Apartment fire that left 130 homeless was intentionally set

Lopez was identified as a suspect during the investigation.

Lopez was arrested Thursday morning and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree arson and damage to occupied property/explosive.

A teenager who says she's Lopez's ex-girlfriend told WBTV she believes Lopez set the fire because she ended their relationship and he wanted revenge.

"Like I feel guilty we're all over here at the shelter and all these people lost their homes cause of stupid stuff I guess" she said.

She says she and Lopez dated for a couple of years. 

She says at one point after the break-up, Lopez told her "she would see." 

The teen says she didn't know what he meant.

"Never thought he would do something like that," she said. "Never imagined."

"We’re all victims. We all could have been dead," Renee Mack said. "I feel that it's wrong. He should be charged with more than two counts of attempted murder because we all could have been dead. We ran for our lives. I’m very upset at that. Very very upset."

Mack says she was one of the last to escape the burning building. She doesn't understand why Lopez isn't facing more charges.

Court records show Lopez lives not far from the apartment complex.

Mack told WBTV she saw Lopez at the property before the fire started, and also weeks ago when he exchanged words with the current boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend.

"It was like a couple of weeks. He had gotten into an altercation with the guy that she’s dating.His mother and father came and escorted him off the property. He didn’t get physical physical with the guy because they escorted him off " Mack said.

Lopez didn't say anything as officers walked him out of police headquarters to transport him to jail. 

Investigators haven't explained why Lopez has two attempted murder charges.

Was he intending to only target a specific apartment or his ex girlfriend when he allegedly set the fire that raged out of control?

It took more than 50 Charlotte Fire Department firefighters an hour to put out the heavy flames they encountered when they arrived on scene.

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 on scene to shelter and transport the 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.

Lopez remains at the Mecklenburg County Jail.

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