GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Late Thursday, fire crews battled an apartment blaze in Grand Rapids, across the street from the Basilica of Saint Adalbert. Eighteen residents of the nine-unit complex lost their homes. No resident was hurt, but the building was a total loss.
Fire crews remained all night putting out hot spots and the building is now to unstable to enter. Residents are being asked to stay away.
Investigators have not determined the official cause of the fire but say they have heard reports that it may have been caused by a small boy was playing with fire by some stairs. We talked to neighbors who said that a young boy admitted to them that he had been playing with fire and that he had started a pile of leaves on fire.
Renee Coppes lives in a house next to the apartment and talked to us about her experience.
"My first reaction was to call 911, and I had a friend with me and his reaction was to try to get out as many people as possible. By the time I came around the corner I gave the dispatcher the smoke and fire had moved to the rest of the building," explains Coppes.
18 left homeless after apartment fire
A firefighter suffered a minor injury, but all the residents made it out safely, and the Red Cross was able to help residents find a place to stay for the night.
Aerial fire footage courtesy Adam Dabaja & Soapbox Pictures