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Fire tears through suburban Phoenix apartment complex, arson suspected

MESA, Ariz. — A man was arrested Monday on suspicion of lighting an overnight fire that forced about 100 residents out of their apartments in suburban Phoenix.

Police believe Irineo De La Cruz started the blaze around 2 a.m. at the two-story Sunset Apartments near Mesa Drive and Main Street.

De La Cruz claimed he had not slept in nearly a week because he was hearing voices. He said he started the fire to get the voices to stop. He also allegedly confessed to using methamphetamine.

Over three dozen apartments were evacuated as the fire raced from the ground floor to the top. Of the 40 apartments affected, eight were heavily damaged by fire, smoke and/or water and two were completely ruined. No injuries were reported.

Raymond Anderson Suggs’ second-story unit was destroyed but he was able to get his wife and three children out safely.

“It was literally a wall of fire,” Suggs said. “I opened the front door and the blaze was right there. I took my kids and ran through that fire like I was a pro football player.

“Thank God we didn’t get burned or anything like that. If we had been sound asleep we wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.”

Some of the displaced will be going to the the Recreation Center at Broadway Road and Center Street.