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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

METAIRIE, La. -- A 58-year-old man is being questioned in connection with a fatal Metairie fire that left three people dead and several others homeless.

Terrill Normand was picked up at the scene on an attachment and is considered a person of interest in the fire.

A suspect arrested in the case would be facing three counts of first-degree murder.

Investigators classified the fire as arson after finding evidence of an accelerant at the crime scene.

People living near the area were stunned by the early morning fire.

'Oh my God. I've never been this close. You can actually feel the heat coming from that,' said Michelle Borne in cell phone video she shot from her porch.

The Metairie woman and her husband, Niles, captured the raging inferno next door to their apartment complex. The couple moved onto the block in April and were shocked to wake up to a deadly fire next door.

'We didn't hear anyone crying for help, but we heard the cops yelling at everyone to get out and we heard popping sounds and stuff. It was just really crazy,' said Michelle Borne.

The overnight fire in the 2300 block of Harvard Avenue ultimately ended three lives injuring a fourth person who jumped out a second floor window to safety. It also destroyed an entire building.

Investigators say K-9s detected an accelerant.

'It's a shame. I'm sorry. I'm just heart broken,' said Kelly Matthew who lives at another building on the site.

He was woken up by emergency lights around 3 a.m. to discover he'd lost friends.

'Next thing I know, three good friends of mine, they burned up in there and one of my other good friends jumped out the window and broke his leg,' he said.

Matthew confirms many of the residents living at the complex were homeless working hard to turn over a new leaf with help from local organizations.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office hasn't released the victims names but says one woman is believed to be in her early 40s, a man in his early 30s and another man in his late 50s.

While investigators work to track down an arsonist, two neighbors are grateful the deadly flames didn't come there way.

'Luckily the wind was blowing the way it is now, otherwise it would have come towards us,' said Niles Borne.

The American Red Cross is giving hotel vouchers to the 11 people who were displaced for three nights. Eyewitness News was told those families will then be moved to other apartments in the complex.

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