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2-alarm fire damages apartment building on Detroit's east side, arson suspected

DETROIT – Authorities are investigating a two-alarm fire at a Detroit apartment building Wednesday morning as a potential arson.

According to authorities, the fire started in three different spots in the building. 

Police said the building, located in the 5000 block of Lakewood Street, had a wing with several vacant units. The United Community Housing Coalition said the building had not been secured properly. When the building owner cooperated with police in an effort to remove people squatting in vacant units Wednesday morning, someone set the series of fires.

"This is a problem that is going on across the city unfortunately," said Claudia Sanford, with the UCHC. "When we came here, the building was in horrible disrepair. The doors were not secured or locked. Having a fire when the building isn't secure is not surprising."

No major injuries were reported. Everyone involved are expected to be OK, including several pets.

"It got dark really fast with the smoke," Tim Robertson said. "I couldn't breathe. I have asthma. I had to get my baby out of there."

The American Red Cross is helping figure out what units are safe for residents to return to.

The investigation is ongoing.