According to police, Henry Nieto started the fire as he escaped from officers serving a drug warrant on him. They said Nieto tried to burn evidence and tossed it as he ran away.
The flames lit up some mattresses outside the complex. The fire spread to an apartment, burned wood shingles then moved into a common attic sending people running from 10 apartments.
Fresno County Firefighters poured water on the fire for about three hours before controlling it. They were able to save three of the apartments.
Investigators are now searching for Nieto.