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Man accused of starting fire at South Tampa apartment complex hospitalized under Baker Act

A man has been hospitalized under the Baker Act after he was accused of starting a fire early Friday at a South Tampa apartment building. 
Firefighters received a report of a fire at the multi-unit, two-story apartment building at 4323 W Bay to Bay Blvd. around 3:20 a.m., fire officials said. [Tampa Fire Rescue]

A man has been hospitalized under the Baker Act after he was accused of starting a fire early Friday at a South Tampa apartment building, according to the Tampa Fire Rescue.

Firefighters received a report of a fire at the multi-unit, two-story apartment building at 4323 W Bay to Bay Blvd. around 3:20 a.m., fire officials said.

The first crew on scene reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the right, front second-story window, fire officials said.

According to fire officials, a person in the second-story window used a hammer in an attempt to prevent firefighters from entering from a ladder placed in front of the building.

Another group of firefighters entered through the interior entrance with the help of Tampa Police officers armed with riot shields, fire officials said.

Firefighters then made their way into the bedroom — which had been blocked with furniture — and got the fire under control by 4 a.m., fire officials said.

Officers found the man, who remains unidentified, barricaded in the bathroom next to the bedroom, fire officials said. They took him into custody and transported him to Tampa General Hospital, where he was admitted under the Baker Act.

Residents in the neighboring unit safely escaped along with their four pets, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

The man likely faces charges of felony arson, fire officials said, but the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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