Neighbors want tougher penalties for man accused of apartment fire

The man accused of starting an apartment fire that displaced 130 people is being escorted to jail

CHARLOTTE,N.C. -- There are several major developments about a massive apartment fire in east Charlotte earlier this week that was set on purpose.

On Thursday, police made an arrest and NBC Charlotte’s cameras were rolling as the suspect was escorted to jail.

The arrest comes as the Red Cross is rallying for more resources to help the dozens of victims.

The suspect, Jesus Lopez, is facing multiple counts of attempted murder and arson. On Thursday crime scene tape remained on the scene and the damage done to the apartment is still visible.

“I was asleep.  My husband came to tell me there was a fire.  It was the blink of an eye,” said one woman through a translator.

New faces are coming forward after the flames on Monday morning.  They’re reacting to the arrest of Jesus Lopez who is now accused of intentionally starting the fire.

“He just did it.  He didn’t even think of the children,” said the woman through a translator.

Lopez is facing multiple counts of arson and attempted murder, but some residents say that’s not enough.

“I don’t like the fact that he’s only getting charged with two attempted murders, there’s 130 of us,” said another resident.

A total of 130 people were forced from their homes after the massive apartment fire.  As of Thursday afternoon,  51 people were still receiving shelter from the Red Cross, including 15 children.

At a nearby church, the organization is now rallying for help from community leaders and others.  They’re asking for things like food, furniture, and clothing.  One of the biggest challenges the victims are dealing with is finding affordable housing.

“They were paying $400 to $700 a month for rent, and it’s going to be tough to find something like that now, so that’s why we are asking our community partners for some help,” says Veronica Muir with the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, the man accused of causing all the damage will be finding a home, at least for now, behind bars.

Lopez is scheduled to have his first court appearance on Friday at 1 p.m.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment