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Residents flee fire at Morning Star Condominiums; arrest made

  • A firefighter investigates the damage in the apartment that caught on fire at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012. <br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    A firefighter investigates the damage in the apartment that caught on fire at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

  • Caleb Standley (left) Peral LaBrie (center), and Dwayne Eldridge (right) worry about their cats' safety after an apartment caught on fire in their building at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012. <br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    Caleb Standley (left) Peral LaBrie (center), and Dwayne Eldridge (right) worry about their cats' safety after an apartment caught on fire in their building at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

  • A firefighter investigates the damage in the apartment that caught on fire at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012. <br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)
  • Caleb Standley (left) Peral LaBrie (center), and Dwayne Eldridge (right) worry about their cats' safety after an apartment caught on fire in their building at the Morning Star Apartments in Concord; Friday, December 28, 2012. <br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

A fire displaced several Concord families at Morning Star Condominiums yesterday afternoon.

There were no injuries and the cause is still under investigation, according to fire officials. However, one man was arrested at the scene and charged with disorderly conduct after fighting with someone he blamed for the blaze.

The brick exterior of the building showed heavy char patterns emerging from an apartment in the rear of the bottom floor. Approximately 20 people were evacuated, according to Concord fire Chief Dan Andrus.

The fire started shortly after 3 p.m., and was quickly under control, but produced heavy smoke that quickly filled the 24-unit building.

Robert Bell, who lives on the third floor on the opposite end of the building, was watching television when the alarm started.

He stayed inside for several minutes because there are often false alarms, he said.

By the time he opened his door, smoke had filled the hallway, so he grabbed his dog and ran outside, where he saw flames engulfing the building and smoke pouring out windows.

When she saw and smelled smoke in the hallway, Meg Wilcox’s first thought was “get out of the building right now,” she said.

Her grandson Jake worried about their cat, and stood watching the building with red-rimmed eyes as firefighters worked. The fire department later told him that the animal survived unharmed.

Before seeing and smelling smoke, Wilcox heard banging and yelling in the apartment below hers, where the fire apparently started.

She saw the man who lives there walk out of the building and then return right before the alarm went off.

She thought he had pulled it until she saw the smoke, she said.

After she and friends who are staying with her left the building, they saw the man, and one friend ran after him, believing that he had caused the fire, she said.

Michael McMaster, 31, of Concord was arrested at the scene and accused of fighting with the man from the apartment where the fire started.

“He was advised by police to stop the fighting. He started to walk away and then came back and re-engaged and was arrested,” said Concord police Sgt. Cori Casey.

McMaster was released from police custody last night on $750 personal recognizance and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 28.

(“Monitor” reporter Laura McCrystal contributed to this article. Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

I have family there what you did was inconsiderate, rude, and completely uncalled for. You could have killed innocent people and children. You really need to focus and pay attention people, the lives you endanger could be someone's family, grandchildren or loved ones.

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