ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — One person died and several others were injured Monday after an early morning blaze at a senior citizen housing complex in suburban Detroit, and about two dozen people were rescued by ladder — including several who were hanging out of second-floor apartments when firefighters arrived, authorities said.
Six to 12 people were taken to hospitals following the fire at the two-story Leo Paluch complex in Allen Park, Fire Chief Doug LaFond said. LaFond’s mother was among the people rescued by ladder, he said.
The name of the person who died and the conditions of those taken from the scene weren’t immediately released.
Jeannette Bazinet, 63, told The Detroit News that she was about the get out of bed when she heard someone running door to door yelling “fire, fire.”
“I grabbed my dog, I grabbed my purse and out the door I went,” Bazinet said.
In all, authorities said more than 60 people were evacuated following the roughly 5 a.m. fire. The complex filled with smoke during the fire, making it difficult for those inside to see. The fire had been extinguished by later Monday morning. The cause was under investigation.
LaFond said the fire crews that responded “saved a lot of lives.” Some people were removed from the complex in wheelchairs or on stretchers.
The building had doors designed to prevent the spread of fire on each apartment that were installed about two years ago, preventing the fire from spreading more, the Detroit Free Press reported. The Salvation Army was called to assist as officials worked to line up housing for those displaced by the fire.
Worried family members, including Debbie Blalock, rushed to the complex.
“It was very scary,” Blalock told The News as her 84-year-old mother, Flo Wallace, sat nearby in a library, where some residents went for shelter.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.