Two buildings at Parkview Manor in Hart destroyed by a raging fire, forcing dozens of people to be evacuated into the cold early Thursday morning.
Fire fighters say they have the origin of the fire narrowed down to one building.
Dozens of people were forced to get out of those buildings, along with other apartments nearby.
Many had to find their own way to escape.
Continuing our team coverage, 9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Derrick Larr spoke with those caught in the fire.
The Parkview Manor apartment complex in Oceana County were the main focus of a fire that left people waking up in a cloud of dangerous smoke.
Fire fighters spent hour putting it out.
People adjacent, as many as 81 total, were evacuated.
One man remembers rescuing someone who was hanging from a sheet from a window.
“There was a young man that was crawling off of a sheet out of a window,” says Eric Salacina, who was told to evacuate from his apartment next door. “I ran and helped him really quick to help him down. I couldn’t believe it. Later on that evening, I talked to him and he said, ‘Yeah, that was me.’"
Inside, 16 families were feeling through smoke to stay together.
“We got a knock on the door, saying that there was a fire and they wanted us to stay in our apartment,” says Melissa Chapman, who woke up, along with her kids, to the commotion. “Shortly after, they came back and told us that everyone needs to get evacuated."
“We were what, two feet apart,” Salacina says, who was near Chapman. “We couldn’t even see each other. And all we could breathe in was this…that completely tar. And we lost each other through it. I remember that.”
“I had my 13-year-old actually in my jacket to block the smoke because the smoke was so bad,” Chapman says. “I could feel it in my lungs."
Eric and Melissa made it out of their apartment.
Another neighbor says his friend had to jump from the second floor.
Six were sent to the hospital.
All are expected to recover.
“I’m sad. I’m sad,” Chapman says. “It’s Christmas time and we got lucky enough that our building didn’t get it, but I feel for the families that do."
The fire chief says his crews are going to be investigating what may have caused this fire late into the evening, possibly into tomorrow, interviewing those who were inside.
You can help those impacted by today’s fire.
Donations are being accepted at Big Hart Brewing and Gales IGA.
They are in need of clean winter clothing, household and hygiene items.