Arson investigators arrested an Antioch man on suspicion of starting a Memorial Day fire that leveled a portion of a Hargrove Street apartment complex and left 40 people displaced.
Fire investigators said James Sossaman, 44, tossed a M-100 into a field behind the complex shortly before fire was reported in the 1700 block of Hargrove Street just after 5:30 p.m..
Arriving Contra Costa County Fire Protection District firefighters were met by fire that had already extended from the grass into the two-story complex. A second-alarm response was ordered and an aggressive fire attack was made in an attempt to slow the spread of fire but several units had already begun to burn, officials said.
Strong winds eventually blew the fire across a breezeway to adjoining apartments destroying 8 units before it could be brought under control.
No firefighters were injured. Two civilians were transported to hospital for smoke inhalation.
Investigators conducting witness interviews and poring over surveillance videos eventually determined that Sossaman threw an M-100 into the field behind the apartment complex before the fire broke out. Further investigation determined Sossaman was also on felony probation and a search of his apartment reportedly located a firearm along with several other illegal fireworks, according to fire district officials.
Sossaman was transported by Antioch Police to Martinez Detention Facility for booking.