Grandville apartment fire displaces families, tenant reunited with animals

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GRANDVILLE, Mich. - At least 12 families have been displaced after an apartment fire in Grandville.

The fire happened around 1 p.m. Monday at the Wimbledon Apartments off Canal Avenue and Rivertown Parkway. Grandville Fire Chief Mike May said crews believe the fire started in the attic, near the rear of the apartment building. An ongoing investigation is working to determine what caused the fire.

No one was injured. May said heavy winds worked against fire crews and took about 30 minutes to extinguish. By the time crews arrived, the fire had spread through the roof, and with the strong winds, had spread to other units.

“On the far end there you’ve got fire, smoke and water damage then you work your way further away from the fire, it’s mostly smoke damage," said May.

Twelve units are destroyed and 12 others were without gas and electricity as of Monday afternoon, but management said they were working to restore it. The tenants in these neighboring 12 units are allowed to grab belongings, but management told FOX 17 they will not be allowed to stay Monday night at home.

Residents said they heard smoke alarms, but it was a mad dash for neighbors to get outside, banging on doors, alerting others to get out.

“We started knocking on doors, my wife and my daughter went and stayed outside, we started helping knocking on doors," said Ivan Rojas, a tenant.

Crews did rescue at least five pets, each reported to be in good condition. One tenant Aarin Vincent was in tears as she watched firefighters hose down her home, while she was unsure where her cat and hamster were.

“He’s like one of my kids," Vincent said.

FOX 17's photographer helped her pinpoint to crews where she believed her animals were inside. Moments later our cameras caught a grateful reunion: Vincent consoling her cat meowing in her arms.

“I’ve never gone through anything like this, I’m just glad nobody got hurt, everybody’s safe, things can be replaced, but people and animals can’t," said Vincent.

"One day at a time that’s all you can do.”

The American Red Cross is working with families to find housing and other resources.

Google Map for coordinates 42.882463 by -85.772156.

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