Man confesses to setting fatal 3-alarm fire in Everett

Investigators say the man started the fire just after 10 p.m. in the only stairwell that connected the first and second floors, forcing residents to jump from their balconies to safety.

A 40-year-old man from Everett confessed to starting a fatal 3-alarm fire at an Everett apartment complex.

According to police, a tip led detectives to Bellingham where the man was questioned and confessed to starting the fire at Colby Square Apartments on Dec. 21, 2017. Investigators say the man started the fire just after 10 p.m. in the only stairwell that connected the first and second floors, forcing residents to jump from their balconies to safety.

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Related: Woman dies after 3-alarm fire at Everett apartment complex

A 76-year-old woman was rescued from one of the rooms and hospitalized for smoke inhalation, but later died.

The man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for arson and assault charges. Other possible charges have not been released at this time.

An employee who worked at the building said 15 to 20 people lived in the apartment complex. Steve Goforth, Assistant Fire Marshall for the Everett Fire Department, said 14 units in the complex were damaged by smoke or water.