GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 1850 Heritage Hill home, commonly referred to as Morris Manor, was saved mostly from flames Thursday night due to where the fire started.
The fire started in an occupied apartment on the third floor around 7:30 p.m.
Responding fire crews were able to put out the fire within about an hour while a crowd of about 20 homeowners and renters watched.
No one was injured in the fire.
Ron Robinson, who has rented a bottom floor unit at the Morris Manor for 20 years, told News 8 the woman who rents the apartment where the fire started was at work at the time.
Three of the 21 units were damaged by flames, smoke and water.
“We were very, very lucky,” Robins said. “The damage is minimal and even to the structure itself.”
While firefighters lucked out from where the fire initially started, older buildings tend to present additional obstacles when knocking down flames.
“They will burn longer, but there are some hidden dangers in here,” Jack Johnson Jr., Grand Rapids Fire Department deputy chief of operations, said. “You have numerous renovations throughout the course of the years (which) can create void spaces. If the fire does breach a wall, we can be chasing it through the whole structure even a distance away from where the fire started. We can have it pop up on the other side of the house.”
Crews also struggled with turning off power to the third floor due to unmarked fuse boxes.
“The problem with that is when they do the renovations, sometimes they don’t remove the older breaker boxes,” he said. “So the problem we had here last night is when we found a breaker box on the third floor where we wanted to turn the electricity off when they shut the breakers down nothing happened. The electricity was still on.”
Eventually, Consumers Energy was able to shut off the power.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.