Crews in Little Rock extinguished another suspicious fire early Friday at Forest Place Apartments, the seventh blaze at the complex since February, officials said.
Little Rock Fire Department Capt. Randy Hickmon said crews were dispatched about midnight to the apartments at 1421 N. University Ave.
Hickmon said the blaze appeared to have been set in the hallway outside a first-floor unit, causing fire damage that displaced residents in two nearby residences and smoking up much of the south building. Residents were evacuated for some time overnight, and some had to be rescued by ladder off first-floor balconies, which Hickmon said are about 20 feet off the ground.
He said authorities are investigating as though the blazes are all tied together.
"When you have seven fires in a complex since February, you've got to say they're all connected," he said, urging residents to keep their eyes open for information that could help make an arrest. "Be vigilant, watch out for strangers in the complex. Get to know your neighbors."
Hickmon said a "fire watch" is in place with residents taking shifts 24 hours a day. There was a report of a vehicle leaving the center just before the latest fire was reported, though no license plate was obtained, he said.
A fire in a different Forest Place building in May sent heavy flames through the roof, causing more than $4 million in damage.
No serious injuries have been reported in any of the fires.