Investigators suspect arson in Altamonte Springs fires

By Christina Jensen, Cheryn Stone and Jeff Allen, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, December 07, 2017, 6:44 PM EST

Fire investigators said Thursday night that they suspect someone intentionally set the two fires at Remington Inn and Suites.

  • Investigators suspect arson in two fires
  • Residents of nearby building temporarily evacuated
  • Remington Inn had been empty since Hurricane Irma
  • 1 firefighter treated for heat exhaustion

The fires broke out within hours of each other Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. One of the fires heavily damaged a building already condemned after Hurricane Irma ripped off part of its roof.

Some residents said they were hoping to return to the damaged building after it was renovated, but after the fire, they’re not sure where they’re going to live.

“Not only did we lose all our stuff when Irma hit and the roof was ripped off, but we got to sit here and watch all of our hopes and dreams of going back to our apartment anytime soon go up in flames,” said resident April Balliet. “It was like losing everything all over again.”

Signs are now posted at Remington Inn and Suites saying state fire investigators suspect arson, and they’re offering up to $5,000 in cash to anyone who can provide information that identifies who started the fires.

Witnesses said the fire started in a building of the Remington Inn & Suites along Douglas Avenue, not far from Cranes Roost, that was empty after being damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Flames shot high into the sky overnight, about 3:30 a.m.

One resident of the neighboring building said she grabbed what she could and got out of her room.

“It was coming from the roof," Lynn Oberender said. "It just kept jumping from apartment to apartment. They would get it out in this section, and it would flare up here. This went on for hours.”

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. The state fire marshal is investigating the cause.