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Mar 16, 2014 1:17 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Man charged in east side arson has criminal past

TUCSON - A man accused of arson after an east side apartment fire faces two felony charges but has a checkered criminal past dating back to 2003.

Tucson Police Sgt. Pete Dugan said that 36-year-old Israel Salazar intentionally set a fire to an apartment building near Speedway and Camino Seco on Saturday.

Salazar was booked into the Pima County Jail on one count of arson of an occupied building and criminal damage over $10,000.

Flames engulfed the 18-unit apartment building on the east side after, residents said, Salazar set fire to his bed and let it spread.

"I came out to the front, firefighters were kicking down doors trying to get everyone out -- it was pretty crazy, a lot of smoke and a good amount of damage that happened, said Jess Shiflet who lives in the apartment complex.

Police said Salazar made his way into another apartment on the second floor and jumped out of the window before officers detained him.

Witnesses described Salazar as erratic at the time.

"It took three or four guys to get him down, the guy was going crazy," Shiflet said.

According to state records, Salazar is currently on parole. He has previously served time for offenses in Maricopa County including: armed robbery, resisting arrest and several dangerous drug violations.

Salazar remains in the Pima County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

No serious injuries were reported from the fire.

The Red Cross is helping 15 people who were displaced from the incident.

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