West Detroit apartment fire likely arson

Jason Manor Apartments engulfed by flames in less than 5 minutes


DETROIT – What sparked the massive apartment fire Wednesday morning in west Detroit?

The Local 4 Defenders are learning it was no accident and likely arson -- retaliation for a resident who called police to report an alleged sexual assault.

Here's the timeline:

At 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Detroit police responded to the Jason Manor Apartments for a complaint of a loud party and possible sexual assault.

At 5:55 a.m., the building manager called 911 to report a fire.

At 6 a.m., fire victims were being transported to a hospital. Overall, three residents and one firefighter were taken to a hospital with injuries.

Neighbors on the basement level in the building saw large crowds and heard a wild party an hour before the fire engulfed the complex.

"I seen like a lot of people in the hallway, a lot of guys. At that time when I came in I seen a couple of females -- two females -- and maybe like 12 guys," said Latrice Arnold.

Arnold left with her children just before the fire broke out.

"It's just unbelievable, like really the whole building, everybody else, they put everybody else's lives at risk and involved everybody in it," she said.

David Nowacki was one of the firefighters injured, coming face-to-face with a wall of flames on the second floor. He was thrown to the ground, he dislocated his shoulder and suffered minor burns.

He was hospitalized and released late Wednesday.

Detroit police have 3 suspects

Detroit police have three possible suspects. They are conducting interviews to track them down.

The victim of the alleged sexual assault is cooperating with law enforcement and was questioned Wednesday morning at the hospital.

Insiders believe those responsible may have doused the lower level of the building with an accelerant. The building was fully engulfed in less than 5 minutes.

Slideshow: Pictures from the scene of the Jason Manor fire

How to help residents

Several people are left without a home now. St. Vincent de Paul is working with the Red Cross to identify victims, meet with them and provide for clothing, household, furniture needs and more.

St Vincent de Paul has set up a FIRE FUND to help cover costs.

Click here for more funds and donation locations.

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