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SAN DIEGO — A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of setting fire to his Talmadge-area apartment building Thursday while his wife and her children were away.

David Wayne Jetter was booked into jail on suspicion of arson following the non-injury fire that broke out around 2:45 a.m. inside an upstairs apartment at the building on 50th Street, between El Cajon Boulevard and Monroe Avenue, according to San Diego police and fire officials. A motive was not immediately disclosed.

About 40 firefighters had the blaze knocked down in about 20 minutes and kept it mostly confined to the apartment’s master bedroom, San Diego Fire- Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said.

Swanson said the residents of the apartment where the fire broke out were displaced by the fire, as was the family residing in the apartment just below. That unit sustained water damage.

A financial estimate of the damage to the building was not immediately available.

“It was terrifying. I heard a lot of screaming and yelling. A female was trying to wake people up, so I got up trying to figure out what was going on,” said Allison Forney, next door neighbor who said she was shocked to learn that Jetter was arrested.  “They seemed like a very decent family who was active with his kids, saw him drop them off to school everyday. It was a little shocking.”
It was a common opinion that many who live on this street expressed.
“Pretty sad, he seemed like a nice guy. He would drink a beer or two there, I never thought anything. He was a very polite guy, it’s unfortunate because they seem like really nice people,” said Desean Bailey.
The mother and children were not home at the time of the fire.
Neighbors say the family was friendly and kept to themselves, and that there were no signs of domestic problems.