Southfield — Dozens of people crowded into the lobby of Providence Tower in Southfield early Wednesday after a fire in an apartment of a 10-story building.
Four fire trucks and three ambulances were at the scene, but Fire Chief Keith Rowley said there were no injuries to either residents or firefighters. The fire began just after midnight in an apartment on the 10th floor of the building at Nine Mile and Greenfield.
The fire was confined to the apartment’s kitchen, Rowley said at the scene Wednesday morning.
At least two dozen people gathered in the lobby, many in pajamas. Antonio Simmons, who lives on the 10th floor, rushed to reach his aunt, Ernestine Dungen, 81, on the fifth floor. They walked down five flights of stairs to safety within minutes.
Simmons said the 10th-floor hallways “were black” as he struggled to reach the stairwell. He said residents knocked on doors to alert each other about the blaze. The apartment building wasn’t equipped with a central alarm system, Rowley said, and had no sirens or flashing lights to warn residents. Each floor has smoke detectors, he said.
Some residents returned to their apartments but those on the 10th floor and some apartments below the fire waited in the lobby while firefighters ventilated the 10th floor. Water dripped from the 10th-floor west stairwell.
Evacuated residents initially were forced outside in freezing temperatures while crews put out the fire within minutes.
Dungen said she planned to move after what she said was the second fire in three months at the apartment building. “I can’t take it anymore,” said Dungen, who’s lived in the building since August. Simmons echoed his aunt.
Another resident said she had just finished showering when she noticed a text on her cellphone that read: “Fire.” She threw on her clothes and fled.
“If neighbors wouldn’t have knocked on doors and called, no one would have known it was a fire,” she said from the lobby Wednesday morning.