Residents of Battle Creek apartments damaged in fire return to retrieve belongings

Posted at 2:56 PM, Mar 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-26 19:28:55-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Nearly a week after a fire broke out at an apartment building in Battle Creek, residents were allowed to returned on Thursday to retrieve their belongings.

That fire broke out at the Arbor of Battle Creek Apartments early last Friday morning. Thankfully, no one was injured.

A pregnant woman was also rescued from the building during the fire. After being evacuated, residents were shuttled away on buses.

Jeff Gray said that he’s lived in the apartment building for four years. Gray said that early Friday morning he was awoken by all the commotion going on outside.

"I really didn't have much to think. Once I knew what was going on, I got up, seen all the fire trucks. I ran outside. I seen the building was on fire," said Gray.

Like everyone else in the building, Gray only had a quick moment to grab what he could as the flames spread through the building.

"I ran back in real quick. I grabbed my wallet, my keys, my glasses, and my dog and I was gone," said Gray.

With residents returning to see their apartment units for the first time since the fire, the Battle Creek Fire Department said that the areas where residents will enter the building have been deemed safe by a structural engineer and the fire inspector.

Fire officials said that even they understand how emotional returning to see aftermath is for residents.

"Everybody wants to do their job, their role, and to be able to provide whatever type of comfort or whatever tranquility they can to people involved in these types of circumstances," said BCFD Lt. Quincy Jones.

Understanding that some of the items can be replaced, Gray said that he’s thankful that his apartment unit was spared from the worst of the blaze, and that all of his neighbors are safe.

"Lives are more important than things obviously. And it just comes down to memories, you know. A lot stuff in there is stuff that I got from my mom when she passed away and that's all I got to remember her by," said Gray.

The Battle Creek Fire Department said that it is still too early to rule out foul play or to determine the exact cause of the fire.