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Survivors Shocked--and Mad

Survivors Shocked--and Mad image Survivors Shocked--and Mad image
Parent Issue
Day
26
Month
April
Year
1974
Copyright
Copyright Protected
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Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.
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The fire Thursday morning at Woodland Hills Apartments which killed two persons has left the survivors in shock and trying to pull the remaining pieces of heir lives together. Some predicted that after the shock wore off they would be mad. "I smelled smoke, heard peole I ing 'fire,' got my boyfriend out of bed [ and jumped out the window - in that order," said_Marta Larson. I feel hostile How would you feel? There are no fire extinguishers, no fire escapes, no fire alarm system and no smoke detection system. There is no way in hell you'll catch me living in this complex any I er. I lost everything I own in a building that was inadequate." The Woodland Hills complex, off CarI penter and Packard roads in Pittsfield I Township, is owned by the Bell De,velopI ment Co. of Southfield. Bell officials on I I the scène refused to comment. The I I manager, Paul Melstrom, said the I I ing was up to code and that the fire proI tection systems about which Larson com■ plained were not required. Assistant Fire Chief James Kay of the I Pittsfield Township Fire Department ■ commented that "an alarm system is nol I required." Not all óf the 36 units in the building ■ were destroyed although of those unI touched by fire, some suffered extensiva 1 water damage. Eastern Michigan University student I Warren Bonam lived in one of the I I ments damaged by water. "I smelled the fire through the vent. I My apartment was just damaged by water. The fire didn't get down to this end. I I'm lucky the fire didn't get to me and I that I'm alive," he said. i! Bonam said he would remain at Wood land Hills until his lease ran out. The 1 management found him another apartI ment in the complex to live in. The Robert Bayne family wasn't as I I lucky. Bayne's mother, who was visiting 1 I the couple and their daughter, suffered a I j fractiired spine, leg, and foot jumping I from their third floor apartment. "I heard some yelling about three I clock this morning' Bayne said. "I I went to the wiridow and all I saw was I fire. It came over the firewall, hit the I roof and the roof colla psed. There have I been a few fires in this complex since we I moved in two and one half years ago. I About three orfour. "Right now I'm just worried about I ing what is salvageable. I'm tired more than anything else. The floor to our livingroomisgone." I ras no protection from fire," Mrs. Robert Bayne said. Many of the residents left homeless by j the fire were either sitting in the clubI house or were trying to salvage what I the.v could. The management is providI ing apartments for those who want them. Gathie Davis sat on a couch in the I clubhüusewithacrutchatherside. "I heard people screaming. I live on the third floor. I was scared to death ll'm glad I'm alive. When I heard them fire' I went tp the door and WTI - TOTTTHlinrin ni i ui ■ opened it. The fire shot in and I couldn't I close the door. Sparks hit my daughter's I sleeper, and she started to glow. I I ed out the fire oh her and threw her I der the bed while I tried to open the I 1 dow. B ouldn't stay open so 1 tiashed it achair. Then wher get my daughter I eouldn't find her under the bed because of the smoke. I panicked. I finally got her out from under i the bed and threw her out the window to I some people below. I hurt myself when I jumped out - I hit the air conditioner." She said.it was the third fire at the complex this year. "Everyone is really mad. I can't blame them. I imagine I will get in touch I with my lawyer. I didn't have insurance They're liable for the building but not for personal belongings," Davis said. "I had my income tax refund in a drawer - $200. Ididn't even thinkabout it." j Melstrom, the manager, verified the management was liable for the buildings only. Larry Jha lived in the only apartment building which didn't suffer any damage. It was dreadful. We were lucky. We lived in the only apartment that wasn't damaged. We didn't lose anything. I feel so sorry for the other people. One of the eople in our building went around banging on peoples doors to wake them. He must have saved a lot of li'ves " Jha S said. 1 Firemen stood around with I blackened faces. They said they were 1 hausted and had been there "foreyer. " Kay said the fire starled in the I ment on the south side of the complex "That's all we can determine from the witnesses. This is one reason for pushing for early warning detection systems in these buildings. This could have been I contained to one room and saved those j twolives." M

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