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Posted on Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 10:43 p.m.

Police, firefighters rescue residents trapped in burning apartments in Ann Arbor

By Cindy Heflin

Editor's note: This article was updated at midnight with new information from the Ann Arbor Fire Department.

Police and firefighters rescued four people from a burning apartment building in Ann Arbor Sunday night, Ann Arbor Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Cook said.

Ann Arbor police were first to the scene of the fire at 1310 Packard St. shortly after it was reported about 9:05 p.m.

Officers ran into the burning building and rescued a resident in a second-floor apartment, Cook said. Firefighters who arrived a short time later rescued three more people from the third floor, he said. Those residents had put towels over their heads to block smoke, Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard said.

Three of the residents and three police officers went to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, Cook said. Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said HVA paramedics took them in two ambulances to the University of Michigan Hospital. All were in stable condition, she said.

Hubbard praised the police and firefighters for their heroism in getting the residents to safety.

"You've got to make a difference," he said. "That's what we're trying to do. Make a difference in our community."

Heavy flames coming from the front of the building greeted firefighters when they arrived, Cook said.

The fire was mostly contained to two apartments on the west side of the three-story apartment building near Packard Street and Granger Avenue, firefighters said. Those apartments were declared a total loss, but all residents in the building were displaced. The building has six units, Cook said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by 9:25 p.m., Cook said. They were packing up their hoses and equipment shortly before 11 p.m.

A fire investigator was beginning to look into the cause Sunday night, but it had yet not been determined.

All Ann Arbor units fought the fire, and firefighters from Ypsilanti and Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Townships provided mutual aid.

While firefighters were battling the blaze on Packard, a report came in of a woman suffering a possible heart attack on the northwest side of the city, Cook said. Ypsilanti firefighters who were battling the blaze on Packard Street responded to that call. The woman survived and was taken to a hospital, he said.

It was the second significant apartment fire in Washtenaw County in less than a week. A fire that started when grease caught fire on the kitchen stove caused extensive damage to a building at the Schooner Cove Apartment complex in Ypsilanti Township Monday afternoon. An Ann Arbor firefighter rescued two cats in the fire.

Kyle Feldscher contributed to this report.

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Cindy Heflin is associate news director for Contact her at or 734-623-2572 or follow her on Twitter.


Sandra Samons

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

This is one of the several good reasons why we should be paying our law enforcement officers and fire fighters well. They come through for us when it counts so we should be there for them.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Thank you, brave firefighters, for saving lives! We had a college friend die in a fire in a upstate NY last year. His parents, our friends for 45 years, will never recover from the shock.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

I'd like to add a thank you as well to some true heroes. Good job, AAPD & AAFD!


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Great work. So glad no lives were lost.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Great Job to ALL the responders who were at the scene. Reading through the comments, the only one that really made me make a strange face was the one that said we need more Ambulances. Why? Just because only 2 units transported 4 patients? Here's a hint for you: The Paramedic Units HVA use are built to carry 2 patients at the same time. There is a bench on the opposite side of where the first patient is at on the Gurney. And yes it can fit a back board if needed and it does have seat belts to strap the patient down to the bench. So for the 2 HVA units transporting 2 patients at a time from this fire was fine due to the fact that NONE of the patients were in serious condition. Now a HUGE question for all the City/Township leaders around the county. This is especially towards Ypsilanti City Council and the Mayor. We have one truck manned, it goes to a call for Mutual Aid as does the closest Department that would cover our city until our 1 fire truck was released from the scene. Who mans our station during these times? Do you call in 4 more firefighters to staff the station until our 1 truck comes back or are we not protected at all? I can tell you one thing, I am going to check into this sort of thing deeper and see what truly happens during times like this. Makes me a little nervous to even THINK that I am unprotected at all if a fire or a medical should happen in my household.

Richard Carter

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Smoke alarms indeed saves lives and property. I was very glad for one I had when a breeze had knocked a plastic cup onto a stove burner while I was in the other room, having set a kettle on to boil some water. I didn't smell anything, the smoke detector went off, and I assumed somehow the steam from the kettle had set it off. But when I got to the kitchen the fire was just small enough that I could turn off the gas stove and smother it out. The smoke had all risen up to the ceiling and it wasn't apparent anything was wrong from the very next room where I was sitting. Another few seconds and there would have been a much bigger problem.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I've been surprised by the number of students who store stuff around their gas water heater and furnaces. Amazing! I was glad to see that the ladder truck said "Ann Arbor" on it instead of a neighboring city.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Great rescues! The closest I came to a major fire was living in an apartment just off packard, in that same area. I heard the smoke alarm beeping from my neighbor's apartment. His smoke alarm had an unusual type of beep and it took a while for me to go "THAT IS A SMOKE ALARM!". A quick sniff in the hall confirmed smoke. AAFD arrived mere minutes later, looked in the 2nd story window with a ladder to see what they were dealing with, and then knocked the door down. Since there was no major danger, I was able to watch from my door, only a couple feet away. That big old converted house seemed to be made of matchsticks and I think it would have burned quickly if I had not been home, or sleeping, or whatever. The kid never thanked me, or even introduced himself. Who knows what caused this fire, but in my mind, I'll always first think of the image of that burning pot on the stove. And after the holidays, I imagine a lot of new cookware is getting put to use by new cooks.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

add me to the list of people who think we need more firefighters. we also need more ambulances IMO. also add me to the list of people who think everyone should have an exit plan that doesn't involve depending on first responders. No offense to first responders, but they can't always get there in time.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Fireman and Police: Thank you for your hard work and dedication to others.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Didn't there used to be a fire station just down the street from here on Stadium?

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Sounds like that former fire station just east of the Citgo station hasn't been used for anything, for years. I usually don't use that part of Stadium, but a nice job was done last year resurfacing it.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Yes, but it has been closed for years.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

So um.....seems like there have been a number of house/apartment fires recently....

Richard Carter

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

That number being two in the last week? Sometimes that's just gonna happen randomly.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

I think you mean "contains the perimeter"...

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

Indeed, that's been corrected in the photo caption.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Excellent work by our fire and police professionals. An unfortunate reminder of the need to support them with enough people so they can do their jobs safely to help the community. Council should fund fire and police above libraries, art and trains to no where.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

How long did it take firefighters to arrive?

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Chris: A woman who lives in the apartments said firefighters were on scene right after the police. The fire was under control by 9:25 p.m., Battalion Chief Cook told me, 20 minutes after firefighters were dispatched at 9:05 p.m. Here's the link to the updated story by John Counts:


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Congratulations to our firefighters for doing a great job -- to those injured, truly hope you are coming along nicely. A big thank you to all who worked this fire. I hope it makes the city fathers realize the REAL IMPORTANCE of a fully staffed fire and police department.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:37 a.m.

We saw a Pittsfield Township fire engine heading north on Carpenter Road earlier tonight when on our way back to our northeast A2 home. While it's nice to have the support of Pittsfield Township's FD, communities relying on each other need to have enough resources in case there are simultaneous rescues needed in both communities. I'm glad that things went well with tonight's rescue operations, but A2 still needs more firefighters.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

You give the impression that some police officers filled in for the firefighters who either couldn't get there as soon or for those we can't afford. I had no idea that police were capable of rescuing people this way, only from criminals.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

It has always been that way, pretty much everywhere. And it always will be that way. There will always be situations where you can never have enough capacity. The notion that you can't be away from your firehouse at a scene because something might happen just doesn't hold water.

Jaime Magiera

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:58 a.m.

This happened a couple hundred yards from my home. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to those folks.