12 adults and six children were forced from their homes by an early morning fire Thursday at Thorncrest Apartments on Clark Street in the City of Saline.
Two second story apartments suffered heavy damage and four other units suffered smoke and water damage.
“I don’t think anyone will be in there for a while,” Saline Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said.
Early indications are that the fire started on the balcony of second story apartment.
“It certainly started on the outside balcony. It looks like some chair cushions got started and it went up on to the eaves and then got into the attic,” Hoeft said.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 3:31 a.m. after several people called 911. Firefighters knocked down the fire in about 30 minutes.
“The fire just started to get through the roof when I called Pittsfield for assistance. By the time they got here we had a handle on it,” Hoeft said. “The guys did a heck of job in this heat. They did a great job.”
Firefighters remained on the scene after 5 a.m. to check for pockets of fire.
Resident Donna Rodgers moved to the apartment complex in May. Her apartment was filled with new furniture and other belongings that are likely ruined by smoke and water damage.
She said she was getting up to go to the bathroom when she smelled smoke. She peeked out the window to the patio and saw flames on the balcony above her.
“I’m lucky because I’m staying with daughter just a few blocks away. But other residents aren’t sure what they’re going to do yet. Red Cross is supposed to come and provide some assistance,” Rodgers said.
Another resident reported that the residents of the apartment where the fire started went through the apartment banging on doors to get people out of the building.