'The adrenaline was pumping:' Man rescues 2 women from Detroit senior apartment fire

200 residents lost their belongings in fire

A man who rescued two women from a fire at a Detroit senior apartment complex is sharing his story.

Terrell Whaley saw the flames, jumped out of his car and into action. He said he didn't think twice about running into a burning building.

The fire started about 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Rev. Ann Johnson Elderly Apartments on Mack Avenue, near Gray Street.


"Somebody could've died. I could've died," Whaley said.

Whaley was driving to his mother's house to check up on her. That's when he saw the fire starting to spread at the elderly center on Mack Avenue.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

"Something told me to see if I could save somebody," Whaley said.

He saw a few seniors evacuating and knew others on the second and third floors might need help.

"I heard somebody say, 'Get Ms. Rose.' So I scooped her up, ran down the stairs and put her on the lawn," he said.

He didn't stop to talk to Rose before running back into the burning building.

"The one lady had a cane and I sat her on the porch across the street," he said.

After rescuing the two women in their 70s, Whaley said the fire had engulfed the top two floors.

"The adrenaline was pumping," he said. "I had enough time to help them, so I helped them."

At least 50 units were destroyed in the fire. Around 200 seniors lost their belongings.

Terrell Whaley. (WDIV)
Terrell Whaley. (WDIV)

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