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Two Of Three Early-Morning Fires Ruled As Arson

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh police said Wednesday afternoon that two of three apartment fires -- all occurring within a five-hour period and a two-mile area -- have been ruled as arson.

The third fire was still classified as suspicious, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. None of them, however, are believed to connected.

The first fire, ruled as arson, started at about 1:36 a.m. Wednesday in a top-floor unit of an apartment complex off of Quarry Street near Lenoir Street in downtown Raleigh.

No one was injured, but firefighters had to wake up residents in one unit to get them out safely.

About two hours later, at about 3:15 a.m., an apartment building on Trailside Drive caught fire -- also ruled as arson. No one was injured, but two units were destroyed and two others sustained smoke and water damage.

Then, at 6 a.m., flames broke out at a building near East Jones Street and Idlewild Avenue. Authorities said the house was vacant and no one was injured.

"I looked and saw the flames coming up from downstairs and at that point, that's when I ran to the children's room to get them up to get them out," said Treascia Stallings, who lives at the Trailside Drive apartment complex.

Residents in the area said they noticed a person acting suspicious standing on a hill near one of the units.

"He threw something, and then, I heard a window break," said Vincent King. "Next thing you know, you see like smoke and flames coming from the house."

The fire destroyed the lower apartment but spared Stallings' unit. Firefighters said they believe the fire started outside that lower unit.

"That's leading us to believe it's suspicious in nature," said Ralegh fire division Chief James Poole.

The American Red Cross is working with the displaced residents of the first two fires to help them find temporary housing.


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