Officials investigate suspicious Bronx fire

March 7, 2012 8:04:52 PM PST
Fire marshals are investigating and they haven't ruled out arson at the site of a fire in the Grand Concourse section in the Bronx.

Residents believe that someone is to blame for a fire that left some people hurt and homeless.

"What we're seeing here is holes the firemen had to make to ventilate the building," said Robert Gambell, a resident.

Robert Gambell says that earlier Wednesday, when his wall was whole, he heard what he believed to be a dispute coming from the apartment with its front door now charred.

Gambell wonders what exactly happened there.

Around 3 p.m., he says, fire erupted from this home and spread.

"It was mayhem after that, I seen fire shooting out the window and I was trying to run out the building but I couldn't because it was all black, pitch black in the hallway," Gambell said.

"I tried to get my brothers, it was so black you couldn't see," said Kevin Nunez, a resident.

"They started knocking on people's doors saying time to evacuate. We couldn't come down the steps. We had to come down the fire escape," said Ramona Scharron, a resident.

Wednesday night, fire marshals filed into the building to investigate, but Tuesday, Ramona Scharron says federal authorities visited, asking her about someone who lived in the apartment where the fire started.

"They said they were Feds. They asked where her mailbox was. I said I only saw her a few times in the elevator," Scharron said.

Investigators say the apartment was vacated last week, but someone was apparently still living there.

They are interviewing that person.

Wednesday night, 1006 Gerard Avenue is home to broken glass and bent doorframes kicked in by firefighters, to piles of debris and hallways filled with salvaged possessions.

The fire sent seven people to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

"This person put all of us in danger," said a resident.

"They could have caused a lot of harm," another resident said.

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