Arson cause of fire at Oak Cliff apartments, investigators say

Arson investigators canvass apartment

DALLAS - Investigators have confirmed a fire at the Goodhaven Apartments off South Corinth Street in Dallas was an act of arson.

More than a dozen residents were relocated after the fire forced them from their homes early Sunday morning. Investigators say the fire was started near the entrance of the building. 

On Monday, it was far from a normal day. Just steps away from where children were playing, the boarded up and burned out building was a shocking reminder of the fire that ripped through the place.

Arson investigators and Dallas police could be seen scouring the complex on Monday afternoon.

”Wow. It’s like, I don’t know where to begin,” said Djuana Carter. “It’s like I’m starting all over again.”

Carter is among the residents who had to fight to escaped the fire. Seniors, children and disabled residents were all trapped inside when smoke and fire consumed the two-story, four-plex building. However, everyone was able to escape to safety. 

Tenants across the complex are telling investigators they believe an unidentified neighbor intentionally set the fire, and at least two other small fires across the property recently.

"Something should have been done sooner," Carter said. "And I wouldn’t have had to jump out of a window ... with my grandbaby.”

Carter is trying to move forward. She admits it's tough.

Jatara Bivins and other neighbors are being called heroes for jumping into action and pulling residents from windows, and catching others as they leaped from the second story.

"Hopefully people will stand up, go ahead and tell these people what they need to know so they can go ahead and get this dude from over here," Bivins said.

For now, investigators are focused on connecting the dots. The property owner says he's in the process of filing an eviction against one tenant who's allegedly linked to recent arson reports.

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has been communicating with the complex staff.

”I’m going to end up throwing everything away,” Carter said as she looked at the fire-damaged building.

As for the victims, they have relocated to other units in the complex. They say the Red Cross is helping with food and clothing, for now. However, furniture is a big issue. They say replacing the furniture and bedding they lost is going to me a major challenge.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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