KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - A woman died in a fire that displaced dozens of residents at a Kalamazoo apartment complex.
Firefighters from Kalamazoo, Oshtemo Township and Texas Township were dispatched around 12:48 a.m. Monday to the Village Apartments in the 4400 block of Lilac Lane, near W. Michigan Avenue and Drake Road.
A maintenance worker saw smoke and flames.
Firefighters arrived and noticed the fire had engulfed a portion of the roof.
Reggie Knox was visiting his girlfriend who lives in the complex. He told 24 Hour News 8 at the scene that "flames were everywhere.”
He said one resident, a man, jumped from a window and was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious burns. The injured man was in the same apartment where the woman died, authorities said.
Jathan Carter led his family to safety but injured one of his hands while trying to help others. He even tried to help douse the flames.
"I tried to do what I could with the fire extinguisher but it didn't really help much. You can't fight a fire from the ground," he told 24 Hour News 8.
Firefighters used their ladder trucks to rescue several residents who were trapped in their upper-floor units.
Firefighters were able to contain the flames to two apartment units.
The roof eventually collapsed and firefighters were pulled back for safety concerns.
The woman who died was unaccounted for during the firefight, and some residents at the scene told 24 Hour News 8 she did not make it out of the complex alive.
Authorities confirmed her death to 24 Hour News 8 around 10 a.m. The victim's identity has not been released.
The American Red Cross is assisting about 30 people displaced by the fire. Seven families will move into unoccupied apartments at the complex for temporary residency.
A shelter has been set up at nearby Calvary Bible Church at 855 S. Drake Road.
Charles Irons is one of many affected residents who do not have renters insurance.
"I don't have my keys, my wallet, my phone, nothin'. So I'm just trying to gather all of my personal effects and get my life back in order," he told 24 Hour News 8.
The cause of the fire is unknown. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety fire marshal is investigating the incident. If you have any more information then you are asked to call KDPS at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.
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