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Smoke alarm alerts Kalamazoo apartment tenants to fire

KALAMAZOO, Mich.  —  Firefighters figure some malfunctioning electric meters caused a small apartment fire Thursday evening near the Western Michigan University campus. Everyone got out safely – including a dog.

The address was 1515 Lafayette Avenue – that’s near Knollwood Park, and a little south of the WMU campus.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety told FOX 17 at the scene smoke started appearing in the apartments.

Kalamazoo firefighters take a breather after rescuing a dog during an apartment fire. June 27, 2019

There was no power to the building due to the  electrical issue. But smoke detectors were going off, and people were able to evacuate.

However, a puppy was still inside. The Kalamazoo Fire Department managed to save the dog. “We were able to go back in and safely – with breathing apparatus – were able to get a little puppy out of here.”

Although it was a small fire, it took firefighters a relatively long time to put it out because they had to make sure crews were staying hydrated while fighting the fire on a hot day.

Lieutenant  Hendrick said, ““One of the problems we have, and another reason why we’re on scene as long as we are, is this is a serious problem. But it’s more so because of the heat. We’re concerned for our firefighters…I just can’t explain how hot it is in this gear.”

Firefighters say some meters in the mechanical room of the basement had backfired, and they believe that’s what caused the power outage and fire.

“It was a tremendous amount of heat. It melted all the plastic for the breakers.”

However, the electricity itself “worked like it was supposed to. It could happen at any apartment complex. The reason there were no injuries here was because people listened to the fire alarm.”

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