Six people were taken to University Hospital Sunday evening after flames engulfed multiple units of an apartment complex at 1310 Packard Street.
The six were in stable condition when they were transported to the hospital via two ambulances, Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said. The fire appeared to have destroyed several apartments and left the building uninhabitable, according to fire officials.
At 9:06 p.m., the Ann Arbor Fire Department received a report of a structure fire containing trapped residents, Ann Arbor Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard said in an interview at the scene. Due to the extent of the blaze, all fire personnel in Ann Arbor responded to the call, as well as units from Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti Township and the city of Ypsilanti.
Hubbard said flames covered the windows on the front end of the complex as police officers and firefighters entered the building to rescue those trapped inside.
“The units went through the front door with the hose line, advanced up, fought through the fire and got them out,” Hubbard said.
A police officer retrieved one person, while firefighters found four people in a back apartment with towels over their heads, struggling to breathe. Hubbard said all rescues were made from the top floor of the eight-unit complex, and those transported to the hospital were being treated for smoke inhalation. In addition, three police officers were treated for smoke inhalation. He was unable to confirm if victims of the fire were University students.
Rackham graduate students Gabe Frieden and Leigh Korey were two of the people rescued from one of the apartment’s back units on the second floor. The two smelled smoke and at first suspected a nearby campfire.
“We heard someone screaming so we opened the door and some smoke came in,” Frieden said.
Frieden and Korey were checked in an ambulance at the scene, but didn’t require a trip to the hospital. They left the scene at around 9:45 p.m. shrouded in towels for warmth from the cold rain.
LSA junior Ian Evans was watching a movie from his Packard Street living room when he heard fire trucks in front of the nearby complex. In past years, Evans had friends who lived in the building.
“The building was just in blazes. It was crazy,” Evans said.
Engineering junior Casey Schmidt, who lives near the building, said he saw a huge wall of fire coming from the bottom window. He said all the rooms were on fire in addition to a nearby tree. Schmidt said he heard a crackling noise and thought someone was shooting off fireworks. He noted emergency response teams arrived at the scene quickly.
After suppressing the fire, officers began the overhaul process, which included cutting nearby trees and sifting through possibly flammable materials to prevent the fire from flaring again. The fire marshal was still investigating the cause of the fire as units continued to monitor the scene into the night.
The Red Cross is assisting affected residents in finding temporary living accommodations.
Correction appended: A previous version of this story misstated that the building was inhabitable.