Desert Hot Springs Police have confirmed to News Channel 3 that a 29-year-old was detained at the scene of an overnight duplex fire early Monday morning.
The fire was reported at the single-story building at 2:35 a.m. on the 66400 block of Desert View Avenue near Palm Drive.
Timothy Bingham of the Riverside County Fire Department told News Channel 3 that Desert Hot Springs Police officers first noticed the flames coming from the back of the building.
"Fire engulfed the four apartments and got into the attic and caused quite a bit of fire damage to the whole complex," Bingham said.
The American Red Cross was called in to help the five people who were forced from their homes, however, their help is only short-term. One of the people affected is Eric Brockway.
"I was startled and stunned and immediately just I didn't think about grabbing anything. It was just get out," said Brockway. "I believe all my stuff is destroyed."
One of the neighbors, Marion Newsom, said he saw DHS Police detain the 29-year-old man.
"The police, they have this dude over here arrested and he's screaming like 'I told you I do it. I told you I'd effing do it. So I did it,'" said Newsom.
There was no word on any injuries or the fire's cause. An investigation involving Cal Fire Arson Investigators is underway.
Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for updates as we get new information.
The local Red Cross is looking for more volunteers to respond to disasters. Volunteers get free CPR and disaster training. Among positions with the biggest need is the disaster action team that responds to fires.
For information on volunteering call 1-800-RED-CROSS or head to the organization's website.