- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - A resident allegedly under the influence of drugs was arrested Monday on suspicion of arson after an early morning fire forced the evacuation of a 40-unit apartment complex in Mesa, displacing about 100 people.

Mesa police said Irineo De La Cruz, 48, was booked into jail on suspicion of arson of an occupied structure and six counts of endangerment.

They said De La Cruz told investigators that he intentionally started the fire because he was hearing voices in his head and had been using methamphetamine.

De La Cruz also allegedly told authorities that he used a lighter to start a fire on the arm of his couch and the flames got out of control.

He also said that he just wanted the voices in his head to stop so he could get some sleep.

It was unclear Monday afternoon if De La Cruz has a lawyer yet.

Police said the fire started in a ground-floor unit and spread to shared attic space, with flames seriously damaging about a half-dozen units and the others sustaining some level of damage.

No injuries were reported.

“I heard someone saying ‘get up, get up, get out. There’s a fire.’ and I opened their (children) door and I looked down and there’s a fire down in the apartments and I go and get them out. I told them ‘we got to go there’s a fire.’” said resident Felicia Young.

Firefighters summoned a school bus to take displaced residents to a nearby recreation center where the American Red Cross set up a shelter.

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