Twelve people, including three children, had to be rescued after flames broke out in a Brooklyn apartment building Thursday morning.
The fire broke out at around 9:15 a.m. inside a building located at 375 Chauncey Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Fire officials say the fire was deliberately set with an incendiary device.
The flames were brought under control in approximately one hour.
"We had heavy fire conditions. First floor, second floor, heavy smoke throughout the building. Numerous people trapped on the second and third floor. We had 11 people trapped," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard.
One eyewitness told NY1 that he saw a woman acting suspiciously, calmly leaving the burning apartment building just as the fire broke out.
"I came out this morning, I was going to work, and basically, I saw the lady coming out of the house after she started the fire," said Quamiek Robinson, a witness. "And I noticed it was fire because in the first hallway right there, it was flames coming up out of the floor, basically. And I saw her close the doors and then walk down the stairs and just walk off."
Other neighbors said surveillance video captured pictures of the woman, and they said this is the same woman who tried to break down the front door of a second-floor apartment just two days ago.
Erika Dukes lived on the second floor until the fire. Now, she has lost everything.
"She had to think this over and say, 'OK, well tomorrow, I'm going to get up and I'm just going to burn the building down," Dukes said. "It was really wrong. You got babies in there, you know, and it's not right. It's not right at all. And now, we're homeless until further notice."
The Red Cross is providing emergency housing for three families for the next three days, and while police won't say exactly who they're looking for, residents believe they know who set the fire.