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Police investigate property manager after Appleton Ave. fire is considered suspicious

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MILWAUKEE -- It was a busy weekend for the American Red Cross as they responded to eight different fires in our area. They include a fatal fire in Milwaukee Saturday night, October 17th and an apartment fire Sunday morning, that displaced dozens.

The apartment fire took place inside a 30-unit complex near W. Appleton Avenue and W. Keefe Avenue Parkway around 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Police say the fire is considered suspicious and is likely arson. They are interviewing the property manager in connection with this case.

Imperial Apartments fire

Imperial Apartments fire

The Red Cross says 28 of the 30 units were occupied and at least 35 people are now displaced.

"All our stuff is gone and we have to start over," said a fire victim.

By Sunday afternoon, restoration crews boarded up the windows and families are told they won't be back for at least two weeks.

Imperial Apartments

Imperial Apartments

"Damage is pretty widespread," said Leslie Luther, American Red Cross.

It's been a demanding weekend for the Red Cross. Since Wednesday, Luther says they've responded to 11 fires in the Milwaukee area -- 8 of them since Friday.

"That's a lot for us, that's a lot," said Luther.

The Red Cross is helping 65 new families as investigators try to figure out the causes of those fires.

"We don't really have a reason why, sometimes they say it's just to do with the weather, turning on different things," said Luther.

"If we can get anything across to folks, please check your smoke detector," said Deputy Chief Terry Lintonen, Milwaukee Fire Department.

The Milwaukee Fire Department says their weekend was actually only slightly busier than normal.

"Over the last couple of days, we've had a little bit of an uptick in activity as far as fire duty is concerned over our average but it hasn't been anything that is extraordinary by any means," said Chief Lintonen.

With cold weather coming, the Milwaukee Fire Department says now is a good time to check your heater, make sure your smoke detector is working properly -- and talk about an escape plan with your family.

The neighbor FOX6 News spoke with at the apartment complex, was surprised to learn his property manager is being questioned. He doesn't understand why someone would put their lives in jeopardy -- especially the children and disabled adults who live in the building.

If you are in the Milwaukee area and are in need of a smoke detector, you can call (414)286-8980 and one will be delivered and installed for you.

If you would like to learn more about how the Red Cross is caring for those affected by these fires, and how you can help, CLICK HERE.

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