VIDEO REPORT: Madison Apartment Fire Ruled Arson

UPDATED Wednesday, June 27, 2012--5:45p.m.
"They had to throw a chair through the window so as the glass was all loud and stuff like that that's when I woke up," said Jarvis Parker. "There was a lot of smoke in the back of me, I couldn't turn around so I knew I just had to jump out the window."

Authorities say someone intentionally set the fire at the 24-unit apartment building on Cottage Grove Road. The blaze forced Parker to jump out of his second floor window--and forced around 50 people to flee the building. "We were called here at about 3:40 this morning," said Eric Dahl, of the Madison Fire Department.

Officials think the fire may have started in a laundry area on the first floor. "The first crews that arrived they encountered heavy black smoke on the first and second floor," said Dahl.

Dahl said that no one can stay in the apartments tonight, but that some may be be able to return tomorrow afternoon. He said eventually residents will be allowed back into all of the units.

Until then though, the American Red Cross has set-up a shelter at La Follette High School where the victims can stay, if needed. "We have a dormitory where we set up cots and provide blankets," said David Sharpe, of the American Red Cross. "There will be regular meals served, breakfast, lunch and dinner for as long as the folks are here."

The fire department said a lot of the building's damage was from smoke. We're told the fire caused more than $100,000 in damage.

Investigators are asking for your help if you have any information about the fire. They're asking that you contact the Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014.

UPDATED Wednesday, June 27, 2012 --- 3:44 p.m.

Press Release from the Madison Fire Department:

Apartment Fire Intentionally Set – Information Needed

The City of Madison Joint Fire/Arson Investigation Team has determined that this morning’s fire at 4725 Cottage Grove Road was intentionally set. Evidence at the scene indicates that the fire was started in a laundry area on the first floor of the 24-unit apartment building.

Investigators are asking that anyone who has information on this fire please call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014 or submit a tip online by visiting
This early morning fire caused damages in excess of $100,000 and placed more than 50 people’s lives at risk. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue three people from a second floor window and many people were forced to crawl under the smoke to escape the building. A total of four people reported injuries at the scene and three of these required transport to the hospital.

The Joint Fire/Arson Investigation Team is a coordinated effort between the City of Madison Fire Department and several law enforcement agencies including the Madison Police Department. The team members receive training in fire origin and cause investigation and work together to document a fire scene and identify a cause.


UPDATED Wednesday, June 27, 2012 --- 11:35 a.m.

Press Release from the Red Cross:

Madison, WI, June 27, 2012 — UPDATE: The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at Lafollette High School to provide temporary lodging for those residents displaced by the apartment fire on Cottage Grove Road early this morning. Lafollette High School is located at 702 Pflaum Road, Madison, WI 53716 and will be open at 11:30 am. Red Cross will be transitioning residents in need of lodging into the shelter in the early afternoon.

You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


UPDATED Wednesday, June 27, 2012 ---- 8:45 a.m.

From the City of Madison Fire Department: Firefighters Rescue Three Residents From Smoky Fire

City of Madison Firefighters used a ladder to rescue three people from an apartment fire on Madison’s east side early this morning.

These residents did not require medical attention. However, three other residents were treated by paramedics and transported to local hospitals with minor injuries. Many residents reported that the smoke was so thick they were forced to crawl out of the building to safety.

Fire crews were sent to the 24 unit apartment building at 4725 Cottage Grove Road at 3:38 a.m. Fire alarms were sounding in the building when Engine 5 arrived two minutes later. The crew pulled a hoseline into the front door and encountered heavy black smoke that filled the hallway from ceiling to floor.

Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate a fire on the first floor and quickly extinguished the flames. Other crews searched the building for any occupants and checked the rooms around the fire for extension of flames into the walls and ceilings. Fans were used to ventilate smoke from the apartments and the hallway.

The Red Cross Badger Chapter is assisting about 50 residents with immediate needs including food, clothing, and temporary housing. A Madison Metro Transit bus responded to the scene to provide shelter for the displaced residents.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Most of the fire damage occurred in one room on the first floor and smoke damage was noted throughout both floors of the building. Damages could exceed $100,000.


UPDATED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 -- 6:45 a.m.

Firefighters have put out a fire at 4725 Cottage Grove Road in Madison.

Flames broke out around 3:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Approximately 40 people live there.

Three residents were rescued from the building's second floor.

Two people were taken to the hospital.

The building sustained heavy smoke damage.

There is no word yet on what may have caused the fire.

The Red Cross was assisting displaced residents at the scene.

The Madison Police Department issued the following statement: Madison Fire and MPD officers responded to a structure fire at an apartment building. Upon arrival, heavy smoke was discovered throughout the building. All occupants got out of building; two people were transported to the hospital for minor injuries. Eastbound and westbound lanes of Cottage Grove Road between Acewood Boulevard and Flora Lane were closed to traffic. MFD is continuing their investigation.


Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 --- 5:10 a.m.

Madison firefighters are on the scene of an apartment fire in Madison.

The fire broke out around 3:40 a.m. at 4725 Cottage Grove Road.

Dispatchers tell us all of the residents of the building are now out.

A portion of Cottage Grove Road was closed so that firefighters could use a hydrant located across the street.

Stay with for continuing coverage.

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