Police say fire at Ravenwood Apartments was arson

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was not the way some people living in the Ravenwood Apartment Complex in Gulfport wanted to start Thanksgiving Day. Gulfport police said a person entered a unit and set it on fire.

Police are looking for the person who set fire to the apartment unit and fled the scene.

The unit burst into flames at 4:45 this morning. But as Doug Walker reports, quick action by one resident, and a quick response by firefighters prevented what most certainly could have been a tragedy.

The flames and smoke that erupted out of Ravenwood apartment 45 were intense. Firefighters arrived within minutes, and immediately knew it was a dangerous fire.

"Especially the time of the morning the call came in. We're very fortunate that no one got hurt and the fire load was very heavy when we got here and the engine companies made a great stop on it," District Fire Chief Griffin said.

The reason they made a great stop was because of a man named Ronnie Edwards, who was awake and watching TV when the fire began and knew what to do.

"When I got my cell phone, I heard more glass breaking. I went to the front door to make sure the girl that lives under me wasn't at home and when I went back I saw the fire coming out. I told my family to get out and came downstairs and met the police officers," Edwards explained.

The firefighters were grateful, according to Griffin.

"Without a doubt, if we didn't have the quick initial call for 911, then the apartment complex would have been in jeopardy, Griffin said.

Apartment 45 was left a charred mess, but Griffin said the impact of the blaze didn't stop there, with smoke spreading to other units.

"The engine company that first arrived on scene contained it to the one unit. We probably have about four or five units that are unlivable tonight," Griffin said.

Even in the midst of the rubble, people are still thankful on this Thanksgiving day.

"Well, it was just a blessing I was awake at the time because otherwise we would have all ended up in a worse way," Edwards said. "So, I'm just glad to turned out the way it did."

And so is everyone else who lives here. The person who lived in the damaged apartment was not at home.  Fire investigators arrived at the apartment complex about an hour after the blaze was put out.

If you have any information about this fire call Gulfport Police at 228-868-5959.

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