Arson is to blame for a suspicious fire that damaged an apartment in Charleston's Meeting Street Manor housing complex Saturday night, authorities said.
Investigators have not identified suspects or made an arrest in the fire at 562 Meeting St., said Charles Francis, Charleston police public information officer. No one was injured.
Detectives see no connection between the fire and a string of arsons that have plagued the peninsula in recent years. Charleston police are investigating 52 suspicious fires since 2003 for possible connections to that string.
No one was home when Saturday's blaze started at 10:43 p.m. Emergency personnel arrived to find smoke pouring from the apartment, home of a young mother and her daughter.
Firefighters had to remove a large couch blocking the front door, police said.
Inside, they found all of the gas stove burners left on inside the kitchen. Upstairs, they discovered a pile of clothes had been placed on a bare mattress and set on fire, according to a police report.
Charleston fire officials said the blaze took about 12 minutes for firefighters to bring under control. Firefighters also told police the fire had engulfed the first-floor living room.
The tenant arrived home as police and fire officials were investigating the blaze.
Two burned sofas and a pile of singed and soggy clothes lay on the ground outside the apartment, along with a child's table with a scorched image of Disney's princesses on top.
The front door of the unit hung ajar above a carpet of broken glass and ash.
Dee Cee Brown, who lives next door, said she rushed home in the midst of the blaze and saw firefighters hard at work. She was relieved to find her own apartment undamaged.