Apartment fire leaves residents without home

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — No one was injured when a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Standale early Saturday morning and left the building uninhabitable.

Around 3:40 a.m., emergency crews were sent to a Westown at Wilson apartment building on Westown Drive Northwest near Lake Michigan Drive for an apartment fire.

When crews arrived, they found the roof of the building engulfed in flames. The fire was contained after about an hour and a half. By 6 a.m., the fire was extinguished, a News 8 crew at the scene said.

Walker Fire Chief David Pelton said the fire started in one of the third floor apartments. There is heavy damage to the attic space and the entire building has water damage.

“We were going door to door forcing entry on the locked doors to make sure everyone was out of the building. We evacuated at least five people to get them out of the structure while we had heavy fire on the third floor,” he said.

An apartment resident told News 8 that she only knew about the fire and evacuated because people were yelling and honking their vehicle’s horns.

She claims that the fire alarms and sprinklers didn’t go off. She says she tried to pull the alarm when she evacuated, but it didn’t work.

Brian Ensley lives on the first floor. He was told his apartment is filled with at least a foot of water. He also said the fire alarm didn’t turn on.

Drone shot above apartment building post fire (courtesy Robert Henderson)

“I found out about the fire by a guy setting off his truck fire alarm and that woke me up out of bed. I looked out of the window seen the smoke and grabbed my dog and cat,” Ensley said. “You just got to be be really grateful that there was people that seen it and set the car horns off to wake us up to get us out.”

Pelton confirmed that main building’s fire alarm did not go off and determined it was not working when they arrived on scene. He wasn’t sure about the sprinkler system and whether it turned on or not.

“The fire was high so it was above the sprinkler system. We didn’t see any sprinkler activation on the second floor. I can’t confirm if anything on the third floor was activated,” he said.

Two buildings were evacuated, Pelton said that a few residents had to be rescued from the second floor. There were some who were still asleep during the fire. No one was injured.

Drone shot above apartment building post fire (courtesy Robert Henderson)

Pelton said that the roof will need to be replaced and the building is uninhabitable until that happens.

The American Red Cross is assisting residents who have been displaced, a News 8 crew at the scene reports.

It is unclear how long crews will be at the scene.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.