Candle causes fire at Shelby Township apartment building

No injuries reported at Pebble Creek Apartments

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A man left a candle burning when he fell asleep causing a fire Monday morning at the Pebble Creek Apartments in Shelby Township, the fire chief said. 

About 12 units were impacted by the fire at the building on Pebble Creek near West Utica and Ryan roads. 

"When we got here it was basically a wall of fire," said Shelby Township Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski. "There was a gentleman who had a candle burning, the candle fell of the table and started the blanket and a portion of the couch. He woke up to the smoke detector. And with smoke in there he got his son up. His son tried to drag the couch out of the apartment but was overcome. Once he opened the door wall and put all the fresh oxygen in there the fire really started going."

Swinkowski said the man pulled his son out of the building and called 911. He said the fire spread up the outside of the building and onto the roof. 

"When our crews got here just a couple minutes later, they just had a wall of fire shooting out the top of the building," the chief said. "The father and son did start knocking on the neighbors' door to try to get everyone out."

Swinkowski said all of the smoke detectors in neighboring units started going off and everyone was evacuated. 

No injuries were reported. The apartment management company has set up hotel rooms for the people who have been displaced.

Man, 16-year-old son escape

The man who started the fire spoke with Local 4 off camera. He said he had just two months remaining on his apartment lease. He said he and his 16-year-old son were the only ones home at the time of the fire. He said they ran to knock on the neighbors' door because one of them has a baby.

The man said he is a practicing Catholic who lights candles each night when he prays. He said he is very strong in his faith and believes God was putting him "through a test." He said he believes all of them will "get through this."

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