By Al Novack, Jericka Duncan, Molly Daly, Oren Liebermann
GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J. (CBS) – A homeless man has been arrested in connection with a three-alarm fire early Sunday morning in Gloucester City, New Jersey, that drove several families out of their homes.
Gloucester City Police confirmed that 26-year-old Tito Diaz was arrested and charged with defiant trespass and recklessly causing widespread damage.
According to officials, the fire broke out just after 3 a.m. inside a three story vacant twin home along the 400 block of Market Street.
Firefighters say it quickly escalated to a three-alarm fire, spreading to another vacant home and at least one occupied home, and took more than 45 minutes to bring under control.
Neighbor Rob Bartley says Diaz, who’s been squatting in the house where the fire started, raised the alarm.
“He ran out and said, ‘there’s a fire,’” Bartley says.
Officials confirmed the cause of the fire was careless smoking.
The Red Cross is assisting displaced families. No injuries were reported.