Yuma, Arizona - On Sunday, just after 10:30 pm, a fire was reported in an apartment at 200 South 7th Avenue. Yuma Fire Department personnel arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the apartment, with reports that an elderly tenant was unaccounted for and may have been inside. Firefighters entered the apartment and did a search that confirmed there was no one home. The fire was quickly knocked down with fire damage contained to the bedroom and contents where the fire was located.

The living room of the apartment also sustained smoke damage.

Fire and Police investigators were called to the scene and determined the fire to have been intentionally set. The investigation into the circumstances of the fire is continuing.

Every year tens of thousands of fires occur in the United States under suspicious circumstances (many determined to be intentionally set). These fires result in hundreds of deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. Fires like this translate into higher insurance costs for everyone and since fires can easily spread from the original location, there is no telling who and what else will be endangered.

You can help your police and fire departments, and help protect your homes and families, when you report suspicious circumstances and persons. Be aware of people hanging around vacant buildings (or acting like they are trying to hide from view) or in business areas after hours (especially late at night). Reporting this type of suspicious activity to the police immediately can prevent crimes and even save lives.

If you have information about this or other arson crimes, contact the Yuma Police or Fire Department. Information can also be provided anonymously through the Silent Witness tip line at 78-CRIME (782-7463).