Fire forces families from their homes days before Thanksgiving in Grand Blanc Township

‘All I could see was black smoke and red flames over the building’

A fire swept through an apartment building in Grand Blanc Township Tuesday afternoon, which forced more than a dozen families from their homes days before Thanksgiving. Firefighters are working on a cause, but there was so much damage that the entire building was uninhabitable. It started at the Fairways of Woodfield complex in Genesee County.

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A fire swept through an apartment building in Grand Blanc Township Tuesday afternoon, which forced more than a dozen families from their homes days before Thanksgiving.

Firefighters are working on a cause, but there was so much damage that the entire building was uninhabitable. It started at the Fairways of Woodfield complex in Genesee County.

“I opened up my door and turned and looked, and all I could see was black smoke and red flames over the building,” said neighbor Chelsie Mitchell.

Residents in the affected building got out before fire crews had to make any rescues because a sharp-eyed neighbor ran in and went door to door, alerting everyone to the blaze.

“We ran into the building,” said a woman. “My niece called 911 for me. I went to the very top floor where the fire was coming from, and I knocked on the door really hard, and no one answered, so I went across the hall and knocked on the guy’s door over there, and he answered. I let him know that he needed to get out. So we went from floor to floor.”

The building had 16 units, and all were uninhabitable. Fire and smoke, as well as a partial roof collapse on the upper floor and water damage to the rest of the building.

“The problem that you have with this, thank God there wasn’t too much wind today,” said Grand Blanc Township Fire Chief Robert Burdette. “What happens is this fire gets large enough and starts to travel through the attic space.”

Burdette told Local 4 it’s too early to know what caused the blaze. The Red Cross and apartment management are helping those displaced.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.