Residents of downtown Lapeer fear total loss from massive fire
A group of residents of downtown Lapeer watched firefighters from several agencies continue to fight a fire in their apartment building on Saturday, fearing all their belongings were lost.
The fire at several buildings housing businesses as well as apartments on West Nepessing Street was reported before 5 a.m. but continued to burn through the afternoon as gusts fan the flames.
Police Detective Sgt Lapeer. Craig Gormley called the fire a “continuing battle against flare-ups”.
A firefighter was taken to hospital. No details were available.
At around 11:45 a.m., the wind seemed to rekindle the fire in one of the buildings and a wall of flames ignited with thick black smoke, causing several residents to wail in a park across the street. street.
Hayley Jackson, 22, who lives in an apartment with her 1-month-old daughter, Makenli, her mother, Debra Raska, and several cats, took her head in her hands.
“Everything we had was in this apartment,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she had male and female cats and six kittens, and was unable to save the female and one of the kittens.
Gormley told media at the scene at around 9.45 a.m. a passing motorist saw smoke and flames and reported the fire at 4.52 a.m., but it could have started earlier.
Gormley said up to 10 agencies responded to the blaze. The street remained blocked to traffic on Saturday afternoon.
Companies in the buildings include Dragon Martial Arts, Lapeer County Vision Center, The Game Shop, BC Comix and Games, and Grondin’s Hair Center.
Gormley said firefighters ensured people were safely out of apartments before fighting the blaze.
Treg Barck, 38, a longtime Lapeer resident who lived downtown for about three years, stood barefoot outside on Saturday morning watching the firefighters.
Barck said his “shirt, shorts and a safe with important items” were all he was able to take from his apartment.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” Barck said, choking. “You have your whole life in one place and everything is taken away from you. “
Emergency services agencies provided displaced residents with hotel rooms, and businesses and volunteers provided them with pizzas, refreshments and basic necessities.
When the owner of the Flanagan pub, Aaron Corneail, heard that Jackson and his baby had been displaced by the fire, he brought them two boxes of diapers. Corneail later returned and donated all the money he had in his pockets to the displaced.
Gormley said it was too early to tell the cause of the blaze and the damage from fire, smoke and water, but “older timber construction is making matters worse”.