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Detroit — A man has been arrested Thursday in connection to an apartment fire that killed a mother and her daughter, and critically injured her son on the city's west side, authorities said.

The fire started about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a two-story apartment building in the 9500 block of Brace Street, said Dave Fornell, deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department.

The Detroit Fire Department Arson Task Force determined from their investigation that the fire was "purposely" set in the apartment below the victims.  

A 32-year-old mother and her 4-year-old daughter died in the fire. The woman's 7-year-old son was in critical condition from smoke inhalation and burns in Children's Hospital, Fornell said.

Early investigations indicated that the fire started in the stove of the apartment. That assessment changed, and Fornell said the blaze was set from the apartment below the family. 

"It appears the mother, girl and 7-year-old tried to get out of the apartment but their exit was blocked," Fornell said. "The mother tried to protect the baby by covering it, and she had severe burns on her body."

Fire officials expect to charge the man with arson this week.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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