Crews suspect arson at complex with systemic issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WMCH) — A fire at a north Columbus apartment complex with reported “systemic issues” is under investigation as an arson.

Columbus firefighters said Saturday evening’s fire that affected two buildings in the 1800 block of Oakland Park Avenue is believed to have been set intentionally.

Firefighters arrived to the building at about 9:24 p.m. Saturday with smoke and flames showing from the building. The fire was quickly knocked down, and crews determined the units were vacant. No one was reported injured in the fire.

On Jan. 14, the American Red Cross set up shelter for dozens of residents were without electricity and water after ruptured water lines in the building. One city official said there were “systemic issues” at this complex.

One resident, Giovanni Byrdsong, said the issues with gas, water and electricity being turned off in the past, and now possible arsonists in the area, is making the area a scary place to live.

“It’s just making it super hard,” he said. “This is not stable. It’s hostile.”

“Right now, the way things are going, with the pipes busting and all that, it’s not safe,” added another neighbor, Jeremiah Stone.

Firefighters ask anyone with information on the fire to contact arson investigators at 614-645-6011 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477. Calls can remain anonymous and information leading to a conviction can lead to a $5,000 reward.

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