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Posted on Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

2 in critical condition following blaze on South State Street in Ann Arbor

By Amalie Nash


Edward Vielmetti |

Two occupants of a home gutted by fire early today were critically injured, officials said.

A third occupant also was taken to the hospital following the 5:30 a.m. blaze at 928 S. State St., said Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones, the safety services administrator.

Ann Arbor Assistant Fire Chief Greg Hollingsworth said it appears seven people - all in their early 20s - were inside the home when the fire started.

Hollingsworth said the call came in as a porch fire. When firefighters arrive, one person exited the home on fire, another person's legs were on fire, and someone jumped from a second-story window. Firefighters rescued two people off the back porch roof.

"When a fire starts on a porch, it gets so intense by the time it breaks into the home," Hollingsworth said. "The stairwell acts as a chimney, and there's no way to easily get out."

Two men and one woman were injured, and all were taken to the University of Michigan Hospital. One man and the woman were in critical condition, Hollingworth said.

One of the injured occupants is a University of Michigan student, officials said. That student was released from the hospital to his parents Saturday afternoon, according to University of Michigan police spokeswoman Diane Brown.


At least three people were injured in the fire.

Photos by Ron Gubry

The cause has not been determined. Two other fires involving cars and trash cans also were reported overnight, including one that consumed three cars on Church Street, officials said.

Hollingsworth said investigators are looking into any possible connections between the fires. He said the car fire was suspicious because the vehicle that first ignited hadn't been driven in a couple days, meaning it didn't overheat and start on fire.

The displaced residents were being moved into another rental home owned by the landlord, officials said.

A team of seven Red Cross volunteers assisted five of the eight residents affected by the fire, according to a statement from the Washtenaw County American Red Cross. Representatives from the Dean of Students' office at the University of Michigan were at the hospital to provide assistance.

South State Street was closed following the fire. As of 10:15 a.m., the northbound lanes were reopened, and one lane southbound remained blocked.

Hollingsworth said investigators will be on the scene most of the day.



Sun, Apr 4, 2010 : 11:08 a.m.

Thank goodness the firemen showed up as quick as they did! When I saw what the fire department did from my vantage point as I watched was truly amazing. I couldn't help but think that this isn't happening. It looked as if hollywood was in town doing a movie because it was all too surreal. I was on my roof top from across the street. Through all of the horrific screams and sirens I saw people running around on fire. What wasn't talked about in the news articles, that left a lump in my throat, was seeing a fireman chasing down one of the people on fire. He then tackled that person and with his hands and body put that person out, all just as he got out of his fire truck. I wish I could meet him and shake his hand, let him know that it is people like him that make me proud to be in Ann Arbor. I feel safe knowing he and his fellow firemen do what it takes to help a total stranger. Thank you and god bless!

Tom Joad

Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

I, too, was awakened by the sound of fire engines blaring through downtown. The way they were laying on the horns you could just tell it was something big. As Nathanael Hawthorne says so eloquently in his Rill from the Town Pump: "Nor will I remind you how often, when the midnight-bells make you tremble for your combustible town, you have fled to the Town-Pump, and found me always at my post, firm, amid the confusion, and ready to drain my vital current in your behalf."

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 5:06 p.m.

did ypsi township fd assist? that would explain why i passed them on textile this morning. they were eastbound, i was westbount about 9:30/9:45?.


Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

I woke up int he middle of the night to the sound of the sirens and I live on the Old West Side. I hope everyone is going to recover well.


Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

looks like ypsi fire fighters in the front yard..thank god they have each other...when are these city going to figure out how bad we need police and fire...

Dominick Lanza

Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 3:04 p.m.

How terrible this is for those young people I hope everyone noted that our Ann Arbor firefighters saved two people from the roof and were there for both calls that might not have been the case if in the new budget we have to cut more firefighters and it takes to long to get there. Thanks to AAFD and good wishes for the victims

Saline Character

Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

How sad... One of the residents is a friend of ours, and just 9 hrs before the fire, Dan Price was instrumental in assisting a severely choking patron where Dan works as a waiter, by performing the Heimlich maneuver.. one moment a hero, the next a victim... Dan is reported to be fine, a bit cut up and very scared...we hope for a full recovery for all!!!


Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

Just drove by this a couple hours ago - it looked pretty bad. I hope everyone comes through ok.


Sat, Apr 3, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

Hunh, I would have thought coals or a cigarette in a trash bag if it weren't for the other fire. Still might be unrelated.