One person is dead and dozens are without a place to live after a fire tore through an apartment building in Mesquite early Friday morning. Police said this is an arson investigation and believe someone intentionally set fire to the building.
About 35 Mesquite firefighters, including assistance from Dallas Fire Rescue, showed up to 2120 Tradewind Dr. around 2:34 a.m. to reports of a multiple alarm structure fire.
When they arrived at Tradewind Apartments, much of the building was engulfed with flames. Authorities said 12 apartment units were impacted and about 30 residents were displaced.
Eddie Johnson Jr. was identified as the man killed inside his apartment.
“He was a great person. He had a great personality, a great smile,” said Hank Dillard, a neighbor and friend of Johnson, who he said was 72.
Dillard, who has lived at the same apartment complex for about 14 years, said Johnson had lived at the apartment building for about 12 years.
“He had that apartment immaculate, everything in that apartment, he always wanted to showcase it to people and say ‘Come up and see my apartment, look I got something new, I want you to see,’ said Dillard about his friend. “He was real proud of his apartment. You look at it today and, that hurts,” said Johnson about the charred building.
Lt. Brandon Ricketts said they do not believe Johnson was a target. Neighbors believe there was a domestic dispute at a different apartment unit in the same building, but police have not confirmed that and said the investigation remains under investigation.
“I hope they find the person that did it,” said Dillard.
He said Johnson, who was retired for the last decade, was known to walk around, detail cars in the complex and chat with others.
“He came to my apartment a lot and visited, on Sunday a week ago today, and we talked. Eddy is great. You walk around this complex. There [are] not a lot of folks that wouldn’t say anything bad about him. He was a great guy. He will be missed,” said Dillard.
No arrests have been made in the case, and the fire’s cause is still under investigation.
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