Official: Apartment fire likely caused by smoking

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published May 7, 2021

Shutterstock image


CENTER LINE — A fire at the Lawrence Park senior apartments that sent one resident to the hospital and left three others needing treatment at the scene was probably caused by smoking in the bedroom of a seventh-floor unit, according to Division Fire Chief Charles Schubert of the Center Line Public Safety Department.

Schubert said firefighters from Center Line and the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal were dispatched to the building on 10 Mile Road, west of Van Dyke Avenue, at 7:22 p.m. April 30 after a resident called 911 to report smoke in the hallway on the seventh floor. That was confirmed by the building’s alarm company, which reported a commercial fire alarm.

He said the first crew to arrive went upstairs and stretched a hose line through the building’s west stairwell. Firefighters arriving on the floor determined that the smoke was emanating from one unit.

“When they went in there, there was heavy smoke. They didn’t see any fire at that point. It was in a bedroom,” Schubert said.

Firefighters located a 68-year-old man on the ground in the room and dragged him out. He was eventually taken downstairs, evaluated by medics and transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital for further treatment.

Schubert said a 52-year-old woman who was also in the apartment where the fire originated was helped out of the building and given oxygen. She declined transport to the hospital. A 54-year-old man and a 75-year-old man were also evaluated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Schubert said it appeared that the fire started in a bed.

“The box spring pretty much went up,” he said. “The sprinkler head did its job, like it was supposed to do. It controlled it. There was a lot of smoke, though.”

He said the fire didn’t leave the bedroom but that there was smoke damage in the apartment and water damage on the floors below the unit.

An employee at Lawrence Park said the eight-story building, built in 1983, has 250 units for seniors and the disabled.