Mount Clemens apartment residents caught in fire 'have lost all'

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Mount Clemens — A massive fire that ripped through a Mount Clemens apartment complex led to a frightening scene late Saturday as residents were rousted from their units in bitter cold and sought escape routes.

Multiple residents were taken to a hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said in a tweet Sunday. The residents affected by the fire lost all of their belongings in the blaze, the apartment managers acknowleged in an email Sunday. 

The fire at the Holiday Garden Apartments on North River Road was reported about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in one of the three-story apartment buildings. Residents reportedly were jumping from windows and balconies to safety because stairwells were filled with smoke, according to Joseph Cady, a resident who arrived home from work early Sunday as crews battlethe blaze.

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“I did talk to a lady who jumped out of the window but hers was on the second floor, which is about a 6 foot jump but that’s still significant,” said Cady, who said he watched the scene and talked to residents from the parking lot.

The Detroit News could not independently verify how residents escaped. Local fire departments that fought the blaze and county officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

The Michigan Region of the American Red Cross said it provided hotel rooms for at least 20 residents. 

The smaller of the two buildings at the Mount Clemens apartment complex burned.

Cady, 65, said he was driving home from work on Interstate 94 when he saw large clouds of smoke billowing in the distance. When he got closer to the apartment complex, he saw police had blocked off North River Road.

"I'm still dealing with a lot of heavy emotions," said Cady, who believes he lost everything in his apartment.

Joseph Cady, 65, lived in the apartment building that burned at River North Village in Mount Clemens, Mich. on Feb. 14, 2021.

"I have anxiety one minute, I have sadness one minute and I have anger the next minute, Cady said. "I've had trauma in my life before but I guess until you have something like this happen to you, you never know how bad it can be for somebody."

Cady said the complex included two buildings, each with three floors and four units, and the smaller of the two buildings was destroyed by the fire. 

The Red Cross was awaiting requests for more help.

"We are anticipating that other residents may check into the shelter today," said Todd Kulman, communications manager for the organization in Michigan. "We are providing feeding in conjunction with partners, health services (replace medications, medical equipment, etc.) and mental health daily.

"Basically, we are meeting all of their mass care needs in the shelter with either our own resources or that of local partners."

Patriot Real Estate Investors, which manages the apartment complex, sent residents an email Sunday saying all who lived there had been accounted for.

"We are truly devastated by the events and fire last night at the complex. Our B building residents have lost all. We are diligently working with the Red Cross to secure temporary and permanent housing for residents," the email said.

"There is much to do in the coming days and we will work hand in hand with the Red Cross and your insurance companies to get you all allotted benefits and reimbursements possible."

The Mount Clemens fire department returns to extinguish some smoldering at the apartment building on Feb. 14, 2021.

By Sunday afternoon, broken windows were being boarded up and firefighters returned to extinguish the smoldering fire, which burned for hours into Sunday.