Several people are searching for new homes after firefighters with the Asheville Fire Department said a fire in an apartment high-rise Tuesday night was intentionally set.
The 3-alarm fire at broke out at the Aston Park Tower Apartments located on 165 S French Broad Avenue around 8:44 p.m., per Fire Chief Chris Budzinski.
Chief Budzinski said the fire started in an apartment on the 7th floor. He said around 65 firefighters were on scene battling the blaze.
Asheville Police assisted with evacuations. Chief Budzinski said occupants on floors 1 to 5 have been able to go back inside. Other displaced residents are being held out of the cold on city buses, per the Western NC Red Cross.
The apartment is a 11-story high rise building, with 12 apartments on each floor, the chief confirmed.
Firefighters said the entire building was evacuated but residents on floors 1 through 5 and 9 through 11 were later allowed to return to their homes.
Residents on floors 6 through 9 were displaced.
The American Red Cross said Wednesday morning that a shelter had opened for displaced residents. A spokesperson said two dozen people displaced by the fire were being housed in the shelter at Stephens Lee Recreation Center in Asheville.
No residents or first responders were hurt.
On Thursday, the Asheville Fire Department tweeted that fire had been ruled arson. Officers said 55-year-old Randy Webb Tucker was charged with first-degree arson in the case.
He is currently being held at the Buncombe County Detention Center on a $80,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing.
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