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1 dead in Mesquite apartment fire; officials investigating as arson

Mesquite police said the fire was being investigated as an arson.

MESQUITE, Texas — Investigators in Mesquite have confirmed the identity of the person killed in an early morning apartment fire and that he was not the target of a fire they believe was intentionally set.

Mesquite Police confirm to WFAA that the person who died in the fire at the Tradewind Apartments was 69-year-old Eddie Johnson Jr.

Friday morning, arson investigators were combing through a second floor apartment next to his looking for evidence of arson.

"He would always be out walking," Heather Lunsford said of her neighbor. "He would detail people's cars for them. Just a fixture, always around, and sweet. The nicest guy, would not deserve this."

Detectives are investigating an early morning incident at the apartment next door where neighbors say a domestic disturbance led to the fire being intentionally set. Twelve units were damaged or destroyed and 30 people displaced. As of midday Friday, power was also still cut off to most of the large apartment complex. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze, in structures built decades before sprinkler systems were required, to just the one building.

The fire was first reported at 2:34 a.m. at 2120 Tradewind Drive.

"Our condolences go out to the family of the victim and to all those who have been impacted by this fire," Mesquite Fire said in a written statement. "The fire is in the early stages of our investigation and remains under investigation at this time."

Investigators would not elaborate on the cause of the fire or the persons they believe might be responsible.

But, Heather Lunsford knows that whoever and whatever the cause, she lost a neighbor and friend.

"Horrible, horrible," she said. "We're all very, very devastated. Everyone was just up here crying early this morning. It's just devastating."

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