Massive fire displaces hundreds of seniors living in Southgate apartment complex

3 residents, 1 firefighter, 1 officer hospitalized

SOUTHGATE, Mich. – A massive fire on a second-story balcony has displaced hundreds of senior citizens living at the Southgate Meadows Apartment Complex on Tuesday.

Residents told Local 4 someone tried to put out a cigarette in a flower pot, and that’s what started the fire, which quickly spread.

“It went very quickly,” said James Rose. " We came out and seen the fire. It started rolling through the third floor at the top.”

Seniors stuck inside say the smoke was overwhelming.

“Just black smelly smoke, so black you couldn’t see, and you couldn’t breathe,” said Lynn Short.

Before a single drop of water could be put on the buildings, first responders ran inside and started getting people out.

“The elevators was down, and the firemen came in there and took the disabled down the stairs,” said Catherine Braxton.

Five people had to be taken to the hospital, including three residents, one firefighter, and one police officer all are expected to be OK.

“This is one of the rare scenarios that you ever go to, you talk about it, but it’s something you truly never think you’re going to come across,” said Southgate Fire Chief Justin Graves.

Police say there are still residents who aren’t accounted for.

“On October 3rd, 2023 at approximately 3:15 p.m. the Southgate Police and Fire departments were dispatched to The Meadows of Southgate, a senior apartment complex, located at 16201 Allen Rd. regarding a fire. The first arriving units located heavy smoke and an active fire. The Southgate Police and Fire departments with the assistance of several surrounding police and fire agencies assisted several residents to safety while working to contain the fire. As a result of the fire the apartment complex sustained significant structural and water damage.

Residents that were displaced were transported to the Southgate Veterans Memorial Library where they received assistance from several volunteers including the Red Cross.

Currently fire personnel are continuing to assess hot spots and have searched the areas of the apartment complex that are safe. The fire department will continue to search any remaining areas once they are safe to do so.

We are in the process of ensuring all residents are accounted for. At this time we have no reported fatalities.”

Southgate Police Department

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