A building at Knob Hill Apartments in Okemos has been deemed a "total loss" after a fire broke out on Wednesday morning. The Northeast Ingham Emergency Service Authority, Meridian Township, East Lansing, Lansing and City of Mason fire departments stepped in to put out the fire.
Meridian Township Fire Department Chief Michael Hamel said the fire started on the second and third floors of the 2300 building, spreading through the roof “within about five minutes.”
“It really progressed rapidly,” Hamel said. “It sounds like it started as a couch fire – we’re still trying to confirm that. We believe that’s what happened.”
As of 2:30 p.m. the complex was still working on a final confirmation to account for all its residents, but Hamel said it was believed everyone evacuated safely. No injuries, to residents or firefighters, were reported.
Knob Hill, a DTN management company property, provides both student and family housing located at 2300 Knob Hill Drive, southeast of Michigan State University’s campus.
Fire crews were unable to save the building where the fire started. The property will work together with Meridian Township FD to tear it down. Hamel said the fire department is working with contractors to put up temporary fencing around the damaged area as well.
Nearly one half of a neighboring building will also not be salvageable, according to Hamel.
“We’ll be able to recoup some of the residents’ stuff in that apartment, but the rest will be a total loss,” Hamel said.
DTN Marketing Director Denise Todd said there are 228 units in the complex. As many as 36 units experienced damages.
Todd said DTN has secured 84 nearby apartment units for residents to stay in. A nearby hotel also reserved rooms for residents.
“Anybody that needs a room, that is part of our community here, will have a room,” Todd said.
The Red Cross, CATA and other local organizations offered help and support to those affected by the fires with donations of clothes – specifically coats – and dental supplies.
“We’ve had people come by from other communities that have offered to help,” Todd said. “The fire department is doing a fantastic job, so we’re just very grateful for all the help that we’ve received. When something like this happens, it’s crucial that we all pull together to make sure people can get warm and safe this evening and going forward.”
Todd said DTN hopes to put on a toy drive for the children who are residents of the complex, as the fire interrupts residents' holiday season.
“(We’d like to) put up a Christmas tree and try to have a Christmas as best as we can for the kids, because they don’t understand, they don’t know,” Todd said. “So, we’re going to do a Christmas for them this weekend.”
Multimedia reporter Devin Anderson-Torrez contributed to the contents of this story.
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