There were no immediate reports of deaths caused by the fire, which broke out about 6 a.m. at Jason Manor Apartments.
"I heard, ‘Jump if you have to. Jump if you have to,'" said resident Ellery Taylor.
Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson said about 25 people were rescued and at least four people were taken to hospitals for treatment.
"Our firefighters did a heroic job," Jackson said. He said the department was still trying to account for everyone who was inside -- sources said between 5 and 7 people have still not been located.
Amber Mickels was one of the residents rescued by firefighters.
"We were asleep when the fire happened and we couldn't get out. Just in time, the firefighters came with a ladder and came and got us down," Mickels told Local 4. "But everything's gone."
Many of the evacuated residents were being kept on buses to stay warm; most were in their pajamas and didn't have shoes.
Doug Woodcock, who works next door to the apartments, brought over shoes and booties.
"I just saw the look in these peoples faces. You could tell they just got out and ran," he said.
Aundrell Grayson said his entire family had to escape through a second-floor window.
"Someone was already outside, so I handed down the baby first, then my wife, then me," Grayson told Local 4.
Grayson, his wife and 3-year-old daughter were not hurt.
"It's real scary. I'm just happy we're out," Grayson said.
Police were called to the building earlier to deal with a disturbance at a party, Jackson said, and police were investigating whether that was related to the fire. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.
Help for the victims
The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are helping the residents who lost their homes by providing temporary shelter and supplies.
There is a benefit account set up at Fifth Third Bank, account number 7915441716 for any monetary donations.
Donations can also be made to the non-profit Redford Brightmoor Initiative.
Checks can be sent to:
10000 Beech Daly Road, Redford, MI, 48239.
Make sure you write a note designating them to the Jason Street apartments fund.
Clothing donation locations:
Outer Drive United Methodist Church
12065 West Outer Drive, Detroit, 48223
Time out Sports Bar and Grill
16801 Plymouth Road, Detroit, 48227
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