Detroit firefighters battle 4-alarm fire at apartment complex

DETROIT, MI - A fire gutted an apartment complex early Wednesday on Detroit's west side, forcing dozens of people out of their homes, including many who jumped from windows on the second and third floors.

There were no immediate reports of deaths caused by the fire, which broke out about 6 a.m. at Jason Manor Apartments.

A Fire Department official, Tracy Thomas, said "hopefully we won't" find any bodies in the wreckage of the three-story building, which was completely gutted.

At least four people were taken to hospitals for treatment, while others were being treated for minor injuries at the scene, Fire Commissioner Jonathan Jackson said.

Firefighters rescued about 25 people, who were given shelter in a bus before being taken to a nearby church, he said.

"Our firefighters did a heroic job," Jackson said. He said the department was still trying to account for everyone who was inside.

Police were called to the building earlier to deal with a disturbance at a party, Jackson said, and police were investigating whether that was related to the fire. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.

Police spokesman Rodney Johnson said that when officers arrived shortly after 3 a.m., a woman reported being sexually assaulted and was taken to a hospital. He said she was visiting someone in the building but didn't know the person who allegedly assaulted her.

Ellery Taylor told The Detroit News he woke up to the sound of a smoke alarm early Wednesday. He rushed to the door of his apartment, where he was met with thick smoke that enveloped the hallways.

"When I looked out of the window, my neighbor was hollering: `Jump! Jump! Jump! You have to jump!"' he said. "When I jumped, the first thing I thought was could I help somebody?"

The building had 42 units and 39 were occupied, Jackson said.

"A lot of people were half-naked," Doug Woodcock, who works at a nearby building, told the Detroit Free Press. "We gave them shoes."


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