Clayton apartment fire ruled arson; residents jump from 3rd floor

Roughly 10 Clayton County families have been displaced in an apartment fire that authorities say was caused by arson early Saturday morning.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. at the Lake of the Woods apartments in Riverdale, officials said. The blaze quickly spread into the attic and breezeway, trapping some of the residents on the top floor.

One man and five women — including a woman who is eight months pregnant — were forced to jump to the ground from the third floor, Clayton Battalion Chief David Vasquez said. Two children also jumped into the arms of bystanders. Some of the victims were taken to the hospital for evaluation, but none were seriously injured, Vasquez said.

Officials have learned that a fight broke out between two men at a party in the apartment complex Friday night, with one male being asked to leave. The fire erupted near the front door of that apartment soon after, according to the chief.

The blaze was extinguished within an hour, Vasquez said, but an estimated 10 families will now need to find temporary shelter because of the damage.

The fire department is now working with Clayton County police to find and interview the man believed to be involved in the suspected arson. Vasquez did not release the names of any suspects.

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