INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michael Winton recalled frantic moments as a fire spread to his unit at Heatherwoods Apartments. He said his wife was trapped inside.
The fire broke out around 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday.
“I noticed that it didn’t take long for the fire to catch on. At first, it was smoke and then it was flames," he described.
“I know my wife was upstairs. By the time I get ready to go get her, the police showed up. They stopped me from going in the building. She jumped off the balcony," Winton explained.
He said she went to the hospital after hurting her arm and chest. Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard said how the blaze started is under investigation. But moments before the building became engulfed, Winton reported seeing a man acting strangely outside.
“It’s crazy because none of this ever happens and all these people are now homeless," Kristen Jackson, a nearby resident, said.
Hubbard said, "The challenge is to keep it from spreading throughout the rest of the apartments. As you can see up there, they did a trench cut to try to stop it because it was spreading pretty fast.”
He said the 911 call came in as “people trapped.” It started on the second floor.
Hubbard said despite heavy flames and smoke, firefighters managed to get all of the tenants out. Two people stuck on the balcony escaped when firefighters threw them a ladder. He said one tenant and one firefighter were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
“(The fire) got a good start. So, we have to figure out why that is," Hubbard said.
Gail McKennedy, who said she's a former manager of the apartment, told 7 Action News, “We’re just thankful that the people that were victims of this fire that they’re OK.”
Again, the chief said the cause of the fire isn't known yet. Arson investigators were on scene.
As far as this being the second apartment fire in two days in Inkster — the other one in another part of town — the chief says it's more than likely coincidental.