A structure fire suspected to be started by arson broke out early Tuesday morning in a Santa Maria apartment complex. At about 6:15 a.m., crews from the Santa Maria Fire and Police Departments responded to a fire at Laz-E-Days, an independent living center located at 1318 N. Broadway.
Once on scene, crews discovered one unit was fully involved with smoke also coming from adjoining rooms, as well as the attic. Police officers, who were attempting to evacuate other units in the complex, were initially pushed back by the amount of smoke.
A fire engine company then began attacking the fire and was able to quickly extinguish the flames before it spread further. The unit where the fire originated sustained major damage, while others suffered only light damage due to smoke. There were no injuries reported.
Several hours after the fire was put out, investigations determined the fire may have been intentionally set. A female suspect was identified and later arrested in the 200 block of Cook Street. The suspect was taken into custody to be questioned by police and fire authorities.