A fire that burned a Northwest apartment building to the ground last Thursday led to an arrest of two teens on the suspicion of arson.
The fire started shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday, April 24, at an apartment building under construction at the Crescent Ridge apartment complex near Thornydale Road and Linda Vista Boulevard.
Pima County sheriff’s investigators arrested Jeffrey L. Moore and Bryce C. Hobbs, both 18, in connection with the blaze. The pair faces charges of arson of a structure, multiple counts of felony endangerment, and criminal damage.
“The two individuals that have been arrested are most likely the only two that are going to be charged in this case,” said Pima County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Dawn Hanke.
Moore and Hobbs had been partying nearby when the pair went to the apartment complex and “recklessly started this fire” before returning to the party, Hanke said.
Calls reporting the fire came from as far away as the Tucson Mountains and the east side of town, Hanke said.
The three-alarm fire took roughly 2-1/2 hours for the Northwest Fire Department to contain, involving 13 firefighting apparatus and 45 to 50 firefighters, said department spokesperson Katy Heiden. Firefighters from Golder Ranch and Rural/Metro also assisted.
Officials are still investigating to see if accelerants were used in starting the fire. Northwest’s K9 unit was brought out the scene to assist arson crews on identifying samples.
Three structures were damaged, two of which were under construction. The fire gutted an inhabited apartment building, displacing 16 families.
Three people were injured in the fire — none seriously — with burned hands and arms.
Vehicles, lights and window blinds at next-door Le Mirage Apartments melted due to the intense heat. Hanke estimated 50 vehicles were damaged as a result of the fire. The heat also broke the windows of two nearby homes.
Damages are estimated at upwards of $4 million.
Seven of the families displaced lost everything in the fire, and the remaining nine had their utilities shut off and had to temporarily move, said Jennifer Tersigni, spokeswoman for the southern Arizona chapter of the Red Cross.
Typically in a fire situation, the Red Cross arranges for food, clothing and a place to stay for the families affected, Tersigni said.
Repairs to the heat-damaged buildings at the Le Mirage Apartments, owned by Pardi Properties, are nearly complete, said Manager Monica Flynn.
Managers at the Crescent Ridge Apartments declined to comment.