Officials Say St. Paul Apartment Fire Was Arson with Intent to Kill

July 22, 2008

Authorities say a fire that forced some residents of a St. Paul, Minnesota apartment building to climb or jump to safety was intentionally set.

St. Paul Fire Marshall Steve Zaccard says there were no serious injuries in the fire July 18, but “when somebody sets fire to an occupied apartment building, they’re trying to kill somebody.”

Before firefighters arrived at the 11-unit building, at least two residents had escaped on their own. Firefighters searched the building and helped five others out, including three who were trapped on upper floors and were rescued by ladders.

John Thoreson says he climbed out a second-story window and jumped into the arms of strangers. He says the fire was set in the entryway, with flames and smoke blocking a hallway and exits.

Zaccard says the building has considerable smoke damage. The Red Cross helped residents get temporary housing at a motel.

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