Local 4 has learned that arson investigators are looking into whether someone poured gas down a hallway inside a Detroit apartment building before it went up in flames early Wednesday morning.
It’s not clear yet whether the act was intended to cover up some type of crime, but Detroit police confirm officers were at the same 41-unit building just hours before the fire broke out to investigate an alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old girl by four men.
“A party resulted in an altercation. Police were on the scene for a while. Then, sometime between when the police left and we got the call, it looks like the fire was set,” said Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson.
Jackson said firefighters rescued about 25 people from Jason Manor, while others jumped from windows to safety.
At least four people had to be taken to the hospital because of injuries they suffered from either jumping or because of burns.
Many of the evacuated residents were kept on buses to stay warm; most were in their pajamas and didn't have shoes.
There are five to seven people who are still unaccounted for, but fire officials said those who have been burned out of their homes are scattered all over the area to seek shelter from the weather, so it’s difficult to confirm whether anyone may have died in the fire yet.