A Pleasantville woman has been charged with intentionally setting the three-alarm fire on about 1 pm Wednesday that damaged five homes, each with multiple units on the 1500 block of Belfield Avenue.

Atlantic City Police say a team from the NJ Division of Fire Safety responded to the scene and used a K9 dog trained in accelerant detection to find the presence of an accelerant in several areas.

The next day, police were alerted that the woman thought to be responsible, Monica Parish, 48, was in an Atlantic City office building in the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue. Parish was detained for questioning and then charged with deliberately starting the fire.

Atlantic City fire officials said this was one of the toughest fires they fought in decades.

I’ve never seen anything like Wednesday's fire in my 36 years of service, with how quickly the flames spread and the acts of heroism demonstrated by the Atlantic City Fire Department,” said Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans.

"The rescues were made from third-floor windows off ground ladders. Guys were running into burning buildings with smoke and fire, grabbing the occupants and bringing them out safely."

A total of 10 people were rescued by first responders, and three were taken to the hospital.

Parish is being held in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

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