Georgia Officials Say Fire Was Intentional

Arson is to blame in a fire that caused $100,000 in damage to three Baker Plaza Drive apartments early Wednesday, Columbus fire officials said.

"I was asleep. The guy in 102-B, Terry, woke me up," said Bernice Hall, whose apartment at E.J. Knight Gardens, 3811 Baker Plaza Drive, was not damaged. Her apartment is attached to the three that were damaged.

Families in apartments 102-A and 102-B were displaced from the fire and a third apartment, 102-C, was damaged by water and smoke. No one was injured

The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services received the call at 1:17 a.m. Fire Marshal Greg Lang said firefighters had the blaze under control in about 15 minutes.

Fire investigators said the fire was ignited by an incendiary device and will be investigated as arson but Lang could not be more specific.

Outside apartments 102-A and 102-B, an abandoned car seat caught fire, sending flames racing through the roof of two units.

Amber Stanley, a tenant in 102-C, said she was able to get out before the smoke filled her apartment. Her apartment has some damage from water and smoke, but it was not destroyed, she said.

Stanley, who had lived there for four years, said she and her daughters are staying at her mother's and friends until she is allowed to move back in or given another apartment.

Teresa Williams, who lives across the street from Stanley, said she had just been visiting at Stanley's apartment when she heard a knock on her door.

"She asked me to use the phone," Williams said.

Len Williams of the Columbus Housing Authority said the three displaced families should be placed in new apartments by the end of the week.

Fire officials estimated the damage to the two apartments at $50,000 each.

Distributed by the Associated Press