Woman, 70, rescued in Oak Park fire dies
Oak Park — An early morning Oak Park fire that forced two girls and their father to jump to safety claimed a neighbor's life Thursday.
Barbara Davis, who was listed in grave condition after firefighters found her unresponsive in her second-story apartment in the 2 a.m. fire at the Versailles-Biarritz apartment complex on 10 Mile, died Thursday afternoon.
"It's just really devastating right now," said her daughter, Tomika Murry, 43. "She loved her grandchildren. She was a really good person. A God-fearing person. We're really just grieving right now."
Murry said her mother, who was 70, had lived in her apartment for at least five years after moving from Detroit. The fire was the second one in the building in the past six months, she said.
"I hate that I didn't move her out of there," she said.
The Oak Park Department of Public Safety had not released the cause of the fire.
In another apartment, Christal Davidson, 11, and her sister DyMonde, 9, were in bed at their grandmother's place when they realized smoke was filling the home.
"I was scared," Christal said, soft spoken as she recalled the early morning fire. She said she and her sister got dressed and along with their father tried to leave the smoke-filled apartment, but realized they were trapped.
"We had to jump off the balcony," Christal said.
Police who arrived on the scene told the father, Kevin Davidson, 47, and the girls that they'd have to jump from the second story to escape the flames, said Director of Public Safety Steve Cooper.
Davidson threw the girls from the balcony into the arms of police below. He then jumped into a snowbank.
The girls' grandmother also escaped the fire, said Carolyn Davidson, the mother of the girls.
Their father reported to his assembly line job at Detroit Manufacturing Systems at 6 a.m., but was sent to the hospital as a precaution.
Another grandmother, Carolyn Douglas of Detroit, said Christal panicked after dropping from the balcony when she realized DyMonde, was trapped.
"She had a fear that if she was on the ground, she wouldn't be able to get to (her sister)," Douglas, 68, said. "She knew that if DyMonde didn't come down, there was nothing she could do."
Douglas said she was relieved her granddaughters were able to get to safety.
"My skin is actually tingling because I realize what a close call this was and how bad this news could have been," said Douglas of Detroit. "I'm proud of them because they had the presence of mind to save themselves. They are my heroes today."
Douglas said Christal has a history of caring for her little sister.
"Even in that crisis, she's still mothering and parenting DyMonde," Douglas said. "Her concern was for her sister."
After escaping the fire, the girls got into a car to keep warm.
"I didn't know what was happening," Christal said. "I was shaking."
"I was scared, too," DyMonde said.
Davidson said the girls and their father rushed to her home, which is in another building in the same complex, after the rescue.
"When they got here, they were obviously shook up. All I could do was put my arms around them and embrace them," she said. "I'm really grateful that we all get to see another day together."
Officers also rescued a woman from a second balcony next door, Cooper said.
The fire began in a downstairs apartment, Cooper said.
All eight units in the building were damaged by fire and are not habitable, Cooper said.
The Red Cross is helping families who lost their homes, Lt. Marlon Benson said.
Vivan Odeka, 35, said she lives next door to the apartment where it appears the fire started. She awoke early to the sound of her fire alarm and found the hallway full of smoke.
"I was scared because I wanted everyone to leave the apartments. I didn't want anyone to get hurt," she said.