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Extensive damage reported in Racine apartment fire; Police say cause is suspicious

Racine Police say the cause of a fire in an apartment building Saturday night  is suspicious.   

The fire did an estimated $440,000 dollars in damage to a 3-story apartment building at Grand Avenue and 11th Street.   According to the Racine Fire Department,  the three occupants of the building were able to escape the fire without injury. Tenant Malcolm James said he saw the flames outside of his window before he escaped. 

"It was huge, it was orange and it was approaching my window," he said. 

James said he lost everything in the fire. Several tenants are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

The fire was reported around 8:30 p.m. and when firefighters arrived the found heavy fire on the east side of the 3-story brick structure.  Firefighters battled the blaze for about three hours. The fire is believed to have originated on a porch at the rear of the building.

Neighbor Schenell Connor housed a displaced tenant Saturday night. Connor told CBS 58 News that said tenant told Connor she heard arguing in the apartment above her, a man threatened to burn the building down and five minutes later the apartment complex was on fire. 

"Stated that he was going to set the building on fire while he got in a verbal argument with someone," Connor said.. 

Racine Police have not commented on the cause of the fire except to say that it's suspicious. Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call The Fire Prevention Bureau at 262-635-7915.

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