ANAHEIM — Police and fire officials are investigating a possible attempted arson at an eight-unit apartment complex where gasoline-soaked rags were discovered Thursday morning.
There were no injuries or fire, fire officials said.
"Obviously, if this had ignited, it could have been disastrous," said Fire Division Chief Steve Magliocco.
The rags were found in an attic area above the second floor of the two-story structure in the 1500 block of West Ball Road, after residents called to complain about what they thought was the odor of paint thinner.
Recognizing the smell of gasoline, firefighters immediately "shut off all the utilities to try to reduce the likelihood of an ignition source," Magliocco said, and evacuated the 20 people in the building.
Investigators found that gasoline from the rags had seeped into some of the apartment units and a corridor area below.
A joint police-fire arson investigation is underway, Magliocco said. Hazardous materials personnel on the scene were monitoring the air in and around the complex.
Of the seven evacuated families from the occupied apartments, five were allowed back into their apartments by late Thursday, fire officials said.