JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Most of the thirty-nine people who were evacuated from their homes after a series of fires early this morning will be allowed to return home, according to the Red Cross.
An investigation is underway at The Columns Apartments, where several cars and two stairwells were damaged by the fires, which Jacksonville Fire and Rescue believes to have been arson.
The Red Cross said no apartments suffered permanent damage, so all but six families are able to return home.
The six families still affected will need temporary shelter, and volunteers are helping them find it.
JFRD responded around 2 a.m. to the apartments on Laurina Street in the Glynlea area and found several fires burning.
At least five cars were in flames in different areas of the parking lot. Also one stairwell was lit, while another was smoking.
PICTURES: Fire at The Columns Apartments
"One resident was awakened by a fire alarm, poured a trash can of water on it and then got a fire extinguisher and finished the job," said JFRD spokesman Tom Francis.
The fires were quickly extinguished, said Francis, though many residents were forced to leave.
The fire department is not sure what was used to start the fire. An arson task force made up of JFRD, JSO, ATF and the State Fire Marshals office is investigating.
They are gathering evidence to try and prove who did it, but Francis says that is a big challenge.
They are asking for the community's help.
If you have any information that could help, call our partner First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477). You never have to give your name and you could receive a cash reward.
First Coast News