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Police investigating possible arson from Columbia apartment fire that left 20 homeless

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Posted at 6:30 AM, Apr 05, 2022

COLUMBIA, Md. — Police in Howard County are investigating a fire that happened over night.

Debris, broken glass, and crime scene tape lingers there after a fire ravaged through a building overnight. Now, police believe that fire was intentionally set.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Breyelle Evans and her two children were sleeping inside her apartment at The Bluffs At Hawthorn in Columbia when she was unexpectedly awakened to firefighters making them vacate because their building was on fire.

“ Normally, I hear everything but this time I was really tired. I was sleep me and my kids were sleep and I just heard somebody banging at the door. They told me to stand back so they just bust the door open and then they told me to get the kids and grab everything that I could,” Evans said.

Howard County Public Information Officer Seth Hoffman said when fire crews arrived they found some sort of device that gave them reason to believe it was arson.

“ We haven’t determined yet what the device was exactly how the fire started, so we’re still working on that but there was evidence that it was intentionally set,” Hoffman said.

James Johnson who lived right downstairs from where the fire started said he heard the explosion that caused it.

“ I heard something say boom. I’m in there sleep I didn’t get up but I can smell the smoke,” Johnson said.

That fire displaced about 20 people in the building. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured but the scary situation left many people who live in that building on edge and scrambling for a place to go.

“ I’m glad that the fire department was here to you know get it under control. I definitely was scared and panicking because it could’ve been way worse that what it is,” Evans said.

Crews are still investigating what happened, and right now there’s no word on who set that fire.