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Detroit — Five people were rescued early Thursday after a fire erupted in a three-story apartment complex on the city’s west side.

Detroit Fire Department Lt. Arnie Nowicki said firefighters arrived to find a visible fire with “people hanging from the windows” at Barclay Apartments, 20490 Schaefer.

“There was a civilian screaming that ‘she’s going to jump, she’s going to jump,’ ” he said, adding manpower immediately went in to rescue residents and began pulling them out.

Among those rescued, he said, was an elderly woman in her 80s who was taken down a ladder from a second-floor apartment. Another was a semi-conscious man who was given oxygen and pulled out of the building’s lower level. At least three individuals were taken to the hospital. Their conditions are not known.

“You expect to see a lot of crazy things, but the residents watched out for each other and relayed a lot of critical information to us,” Nowicki said. “Instead of people just screaming, they said ‘Hey, they’re here. This is where they are at.’ And they let us in with the keys. We would have had to break the doors. This is one time where the civilians really stepped up. It’s probably a tight-knit group.”

Resident Rodney Tyson was among those rescued from the blaze. The 46-year-old Detroiter said he awoke this morning to “a lot of commotion.”

“I heard people saying ‘fire, fire, fire,’ ” said Tyson, an eight-year resident of the complex. “When I got out to the living room I saw smoke on the ground. I immediately grabbed my clothes, got dressed and ran to the door.”

Tyson said he opened the main door to his apartment, saw that the hallway was relatively clear and knocked on a neighbor’s door to alert him of the emergency.

The pair then waved their hands out the window of the second floor and the firefighters brought over a ladder and helped the men down, he said.

“I gathered my stuff, went to the window, got on the ladder and climbed out,” Tyson said. “I’m glad I wasn’t no heavy sleeper.”

By 7 a.m. Thursday, fire trucks exited the scene and the intersection of Eight Mile and Schaefer has reopened.

Nowicki said arson investigators remain on the scene. A warming bus is being dispatched to the scene and officials have contacted the Red Cross, he added. The fire originated in a lower-level unit.

About 18 adults and three children have been displaced, he said.

CFerretti@detroitnews.com

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