Detroit man, 72, hospitalized after apartment fire on city's east side

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 72-year-old man was hospitalized with smoke inhalation Tuesday after an apartment fire on Detroit's east side, officials said.

Smoke damaged multiple floors of the 10-story Hibbard Apartments, on East Jefferson Avenue, east of Belle Isle. The fire, which began about 5:30 p.m., was contained to the sixth-floor unit where it started, said Dave Fornell, Detroit Fire Department deputy chief.

The Detroit Fire Department responds to a fire Tuesday evening on the sixth floor of the Hibbard Apartments at 8905 E. Jefferson in Detroit.

Many residents returned to their apartments after fire crews left the scene after 7 p.m.

One resident, a 72 year old man, was hospitalized Tuesday at Detroit Receiving Hospital with smoke inhalation, Fornell said.

David Lafata, Detroit Fire Department acting chief 6, said the occupant of the apartment in which the fire started claimed the fire was caused by a lithium battery catching fire.

The Fire Department's arson unit said the fire possibly was electrical in origin, Fornell said.

Firefighters helped residents on the sixth and eighth floors evacuate, including people in wheelchairs, Lafata said.

At least five fire engines were called to the scene.

"We have to make sure we have enough bodies to get people down, if need be." Lafata said. "Anytime when you have an occupied structure like this, it's better to have more (firefighters) now, than not enough."

Smoke damaged multiple floors of the 10-story Hibbard Apartments East Jefferson Avenue, east of Belle Isle, fire officials said. The fire began about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Edward Robanson, 66, a resident of the apartment building, said he would be able to return to his apartment right away.

"Fire Department responded right on time and they did a good job of putting that fire out," Robanson said. "The animals were all safe. One of them was trapped in his apartment because of smoke, but they got him out."

"Everyone's OK," he said.

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter