Saturday wasn't the first time Doug Compton and First Management Inc. employees had to stand by as one of their buildings went up in smoke.
Compton, owner of the company that manages more than 500 rental units in Lawrence, also owned a historic home at 1605 Tenn. that was destroyed by fire in August 1999.
Investigators later determined that the fire that leveled the 113-year-old, Italianate-style home had been sparked by arson. Like the apartment building that burned Saturday, the home had been under construction in the early stage of renovation when it caught fire.
"We've had some fires," Compton said Saturday as he watched firefighters extinguish the flames that were eating his three-story, 24-unit building. He declined to say more.
Although the 1999 fire was ruled an arson, authorities never identified any suspects or made any arrests.
The cause of the latest fire was still under investigation late Saturday.