'We're still alive,' couple loses everything in Sterling Heights apartment fire Christmas morning

Officials suspect fire started in attic, no fatalities

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Several Sterling Heights families were displaced after their apartment building caught on fire on Christmas morning. 

It happened on Wisconsin and Dequindre roads. 

“A lot of smoke, crazy smoke. The smoke was so dark in front of the door,” said resident Basim.

ORIGINALFamilies flee homes on Christmas after Sterling Heights apartment building catches fire

It was not the Christmas morning Basim and his wife Mary were expecting to wake up to. Early in the morning, smoke surrounded their apartment and they were forced to take drastic measures to survive.

"My husband said we have to open the window; we jumped out of the window. I got my purse and he said come on, we have to jump. We jumped and we don’t see nothing,” Mary said. 

Mary said she didn’t think twice before she jumped out of their first-floor apartment window. She just wanted to make sure they were safe. 

Local 4 was on the scene as several crews responded to the apartment complex.

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin said the blaze started at 9 a.m. Christmas morning.

The flames and smoke were intense and dangerous.

“We have a third-alarm right now because it ran a lot of different areas in the attic. A lot of people were trapped early on and we got them all out,” Martin said. 

Mary said they lost everything, including their Christmas presents, but they’re still grateful to be alive.

A firefighter was injured while battling the fire. Nobody was killed.

Local disaster workers from the American Red Cross of Southeast Michigan are working to support the victims of the fire, according to a release from the organization.

There is a reception center, set up by the city of Sterling Heights, which is located at the Sterling Heights Senior Center. Workers are providing health, mental health services and food.

A Red Cross shelter was opened at 5 p.m. Tuesday. It's located at the Stevenson High School.

About the Authors: