Birmingham police have a suspect in custody in connection to a possible case of arson in an apartment fire that displaced 18 families on Christmas Eve.
The fire happened on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at an apartment building in the 1500 block of 19th Street North.
Birmingham Fire and Rescue officials said everyone was able to safely evacuate the building. Four units were damaged by smoke and another four were damaged by water.
Kurvin Thompson lives below the apartment where the fire originated and lost everything in the blaze.
"I lost everything. We just got our house together, all of that is gone now, so what do you do?" Thompson questioned.
Thompson said the fire started in his neighbor's bedroom, and she wasn't home at the time. He says he attempted to put out the fire with the help of a neighbor by carrying buckets of water into the blazing apartment.
"I got a bucket of water started trying to put the fire out. They were telling me to leave, but I kept trying to get it out," Thompson said.
Thompson's neighbor returned from work a little later and was in tears when she saw her home on fire. Her mother, Sandy Payne, said she believes someone started the fire to get back at her daughter.
"He threatened to hurt my daughter anyway he could and this is the way he hurt her, but he didn't just hurt her, he hurt everybody in this community," Payne said.
Birmingham police confirm they have a suspect in custody in connection to a possible case of arson, but they have not released any other information.
The Red Cross is assisting the families impacted by the fire, and the city of Birmingham donated toys to the families with children so they would have Christmas presents.
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