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Police questioning multiple people linked to apartment fire, sexual assault

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Authorities are still trying to figure out who started a massive fire that gutted an entire Detroit apartment building, and why. Police believe the arson is connected to a sexual assault that reportedly occurred at the building just a short time before the fire started .

Thursday police questioned multiple persons of interest in both cases.

Detroit Fire Arson Chief Charles Simms says Wednesday's blaze at the Jason Manor Apartments has been labeled arson. Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson says an accelerant was found in the rubble.

Seven people were taken to hospitals and several others were treated for minor injuries.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Paul re all helping to relocate the families.

How to help the victims of the massive Detroit apartment fire     

Meanwhile, crews continue to investigate the fire and search for those still unaccounted for.

Thursday they pumped water from lower-level apartments in the three-story building. Heavy equipment will be used to remove more debris and an accelerant dog will be on the scene later Thursday afternoon or evening to further investigate.

The day of the fire, police were also called to the apartment building earlier for a disturbance at a party and for a 19-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted by four men.

FOX 2's Amy Lange reports one of the persons being questioned for the sexual assault was picked out of a live lineup by the victim.

"I think it's a very complicated case. I think we may have some people that are the same, and we have some additional people we are looking at. I think, after it's all said and done, we're going to have numerous charges come out of this fire and rape case," says Simms.

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