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Fire displaces 30 people at Dallas apartment complex

An incendiary device sparked a blaze early Friday at a south Dallas apartment complex where firefighters evacuated 18 people and one woman was hurt while kicking in a door, officials said.

The fire was reported 2:17 a.m. at the Pecan Way Apartments, 3277 Persimmon Road, a few blocks west of Paul Quinn College. The neighborhood is northwest of the intersection of Simpson Stuart Road and Interstate 45.

The first firefighters on scene saw "lots of fire coming from a first-floor unit," said Jason Evans, spokesman for Dallas Fire-Rescue.

"Firefighters were able to stop the fire from reaching the attic space and spreading more rapidly," Evans said. "All the residents were able to get to safety unharmed, except for one woman who, heroically, kicked in the door of the burning apartment."

That woman was taken to the hospital to be treated for a knee injury, Evans said.

Fire investigators determined that an incendiary device caused the blaze, although Evans did not have specifics about it later Friday morning.

He added that investigators didn't know if foul play was involved.

An incendiary device, he said, "doesn't mean it was necessarily done on purpose."

"I think," he said, "that until you actually see how it was set or who set it, you can't assign a motive."

Although 18 people were evacuated by Fire-Rescue, the American Red Cross reported it was helping 30 people who lived in 12 units at the complex.

"The Red Cross is on scene now, helping each family with assistance for clothing, groceries and other needs," said Anita Foster, a spokeswoman for the agency. "This marks the third apartment fire in the Dallas area in less than one week.

"October is National Fire Prevention Month. All North Texans are urged to check their smoke detectors and batteries and to develop a fire escape plan," she said.