WALKER, MICH. - Investigators were back at a Walker apartment complex Tuesday, trying to determine the cause of a fire that forced 100 people out of their homes.
No one was injured in yesterday's fire, but many people lost their belongings to fire, smoke and/or water damage. Fire officials say their early investigation shows a discarded cigarette outside on the third floor might have been the cause.
Anastasia Hartman and her two boys moved into The Orchards at Four Mile three months ago.
"We live in this bottom one right here," Hartman said.
As of Monday, June 26, the three are living elsewhere after the fire destroyed their building. She smelled the smoke while she and her boys were lounging in the house.
"I just assumed someone was barbecuing or whatever," Hartman said.
Until she heard the pounding on the doors.
"But I heard them scream 'fire,' so I pulled my door open and the lady who works in the front office said, 'There's a fire on the third floor, get out,'" Hartman said. "I didn't even turn back, I couldn't grab anything, they ran out they had no shirts on, we were just lounging in the house.
"I had no shoes on just a sweater and pants."
A firefighter went in and grabbed Hartman's car keys and told her everything inside her home was damaged.
"Furniture, TVs, beds, clothes, we have all of their toys, all of our kitchen appliances, kitchen table, microwaves, we have everything in there and I don't know the status of anything in there," Hartman said. "I don't know if anything can be saved."
The only thing they have are the clothes on their backs.
"Living on your own with two kids is not that easy," Hartman said. "I work and I work so much over time but moving in here it was my own place, everything was perfect -- we've only been here, what, four months and it had to be our apartment to actually burn down."
"Maybe this is like karma because I was like, 'I'll look into a little bit more,' and kind of pushed it off and then this happened," Hartman said.
But she is grateful it wasn't any worse.
"It could have been way worse, and I'm glad it didn't happen while we're sleeping at night," Hartman said.
And her kids are helping to keep her smile on her face.
The Red Cross is helping Hartman and her other neighbors that were displaced.
We're told the other half of the building will be let back in sometime Tuesday night, once the power is tuned back on.
Hartman's friend set up a GoFundMe account to help replace her necessities.
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