Residents leap from blazing Detroit building

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014
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DETROIT (AP) — A fire ripped through a Detroit apartment building early Wednesday morning, forcing some adults and children to leap to safety from second- and third-story windows as the flames intensified.

Crews using heavy equipment began pulling down what was left of the Jason Manor Apartments walls by late afternoon.

Arson investigators and cadaver dogs also were expected sift through the charred wood and brick rubble in search of victims. No deaths had been reported, but the dogs were on standby because some residents still had not been located.

"It's hard to nail down," said Detroit Fire Department Capt. Pat McNulty, who added that some people leave on their own or get rides from relatives after fires.

The collapsed roof made it difficult for firefighters to search, said Tracy Thomas, a fire battalion chief.

At least four people were taken to hospitals and several others were treated for minor injuries at the scene, according to Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson.

Of the building's 42 units, 39 were occupied, he added.

Tameka Williams, 28, was awakened to the fire around 6 a.m. by her boyfriend. She said they tried to leave their apartment with her two children, ages 8 and 6, but there was too much smoke outside the door.

"We went to the window, and I dropped them down, then I jumped down and then he jumped down," Williams said. She said the children weren't injured but that her leg hurt a bit.

"I lost everything. I'm alive. I'm still here. That other stuff can be replaced," she said.

Williams wore a pair of donated pants and socks several hours after she had leaped from the building into the snow, ice and 18-degree weather. She'd escaped without so much as a pair of pants or shoes to wear as she fled the building, and had told neighbors to flee as the flames burned up the floors.