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Royal Oak firefighters extinguish blaze, save cat at apartment complex

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 1, 2019

 At approximately 7:17 p.m. Feb. 26, Royal Oak firefighters responded to a fire at an apartment complex located at 3330 Greenfield Road, just south of 13 Mile Road.

At approximately 7:17 p.m. Feb. 26, Royal Oak firefighters responded to a fire at an apartment complex located at 3330 Greenfield Road, just south of 13 Mile Road.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

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ROYAL OAK — At approximately 7:17 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Royal Oak Fire Department responded to a fire reported by a resident at an apartment complex located at 3330 Greenfield Road, just south of 13 Mile Road.

Royal Oak Fire Marshal Andy Blevins said the resident stated that the owner of the apartment complex sent somebody to fix her heat, and the individual working on the copper pipes beneath her kitchen sink accidentally ignited the wooden framing inside the wall.

“He was using a torch while replacing a valve. He took off the valve, put a valve on and the heat from the torch caught the inside of the wall on fire,” Blevins said. “It burnt pretty good, from the wall behind the counters and the cabinets up above to the attic.”

He said the city’s firefighters did a good job extinguishing the fire. Because of the fire’s location inside the wall, he said firefighters had to get through the cabinets, counter and drywall.

“That took a little while,” Blevins said. “The fire wasn’t spreading any more, but to put it out took a little longer.”

He said the attic is a common attic, spanning the entire complex, so the fire could have easily burned the entire building down, but thanks to the firefighters’ quick actions, the building was spared.

The entire apartment complex was evacuated, and Blevins said that there were no injuries. The resident and her daughter in the apartment where the fire originated evacuated safely, and a firefighter rescued their pet cat.

“The cat was found by one of our guys in a bedroom under a bed, and he brought it out,” Blevins said.

He added that the fire damaged four units — the mother and daughter’s, the unit that shared a wall with their apartment, and then two units below on the first floor that sustained water damage.

“I believe one of them was unoccupied,” Blevins said. “In the adjoining apartment next door, our guys went in and poked some holes in the ceiling to make sure no fire damage got in there.”

He said all of the firefighters on duty in Royal Oak responded to the call and that the Fire Department did not need to call mutual aid.

“They did a fantastic job,” he said. “(The displaced residents) did not stay the night there, and I suspect they’re not staying there until this is fixed.”

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