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Arson officials say man tried to set fire to apartment full of sleeping families

NORCROSS -- Arson investigators are searching for a Norcross man they believe tried to set fire to an apartment building housing sleeping families last month, officials said Friday.

Investigators have been in contact with probation officers for Julius Mackland, 21, in hopes of finding him, but have had no luck. They filed first-degree arson charges against him Wednesday.

Just before 2 a.m. on April 28, Mackland tried to set fire to combustible materials in an apartment he used to live in at The Arbor Mills apartments on Graves Road, said Fire Department Lt. Eric Eberly.

Mackland's arrest warrant indicates his girlfriend still lives at the unit.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke and fire damage to the apartment's kitchen but no fire. No injuries were reported.

No other residents had to be evacuated, Eberly said.

"The timing of the incident was a big concern for firefighters," he said. "There were so many other families that live within that building that were sleeping."