Two injured in Fraser apartment fire

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 27, 2018

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FRASER — A recent early-morning fire resulted in a pair of injuries and some major damage at a local apartment complex.

According to interim Fraser Public Safety Director Mike Pettyes, the incident occurred around 6:20 a.m. Nov. 18, at Kendall Park Apartments, on Kendall Avenue, south of Masonic Boulevard and west of Fraser Drive.

Pettyes said Nov. 20 that his department had concluded its investigation, saying the blaze started in the basement of the complex, but that the cause was “undetermined.”

“We don’t expect any foul play or anything like that,” he said.

The complex’s basement — which extends beneath only about half the units — was “pretty much destroyed.” Flames made their way through the basement ceiling, harming eight units by way of smoke damage. One unit sustained fire damage and will require repairs.

Two women, estimated to be in their 40s or 50s, escaped their smoke-ridden apartments on the second floor and called for help on their balconies. Pettyes said the balcony doors were left open, emitting smoke.

“They went out to their hallway because fire alarms were going off. … When we showed up, that’s where we thought the fire was,” he said.

He said another resident who had escaped the building encouraged the women to jump for safety. One of the women broke her ankle on the fall and was later transported to a local hospital. The other had an apparent sprained ankle.

No other residents were injured.

Pettyes said the basement, which consisted of a caged-in storage area, was a “fire load” and it’s hard for officials to determine how or where the fire exactly started. He noted that clothing is often a culprit in such situations, as they contain heat and burn hot.

One of the basement pipes reportedly melted as well, leading to about a 1 1/2 feet of water buildup.

In a Facebook post, Fraser DPS acknowledged two residents of the complex — Antoine and Keunita Whitney — who called 911 and knocked on fellow residents’ doors to warn them of the situation.

Antoine Whitney was believed to be the resident who helped brace the fall of the second-floor jumpers.

“Antoine and Keunita are our heroes, and we want to thank them again for what they did, and we couldn’t be more proud to serve them (and) all the other residents that helped out this morning,” the Facebook post read.

A local resident also reportedly brought coffee and bagels to the scene of the fire, and the American Red Cross showed up as well to serve displaced residents.

Fraser DPS said it “was truly a community effort.”