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Posted on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Fire damages condominium near Huron High School in Ann Arbor

By John Counts

Editor's note: This amount of damage has been corrected in this article based on new information from firefighters.

A fire caused heavy damage to a condominium unit near Huron High School on the east side of Ann Arbor Tuesday afternoon.

The fire broke out sometime just before 4 p.m. at the Heritage Ridge condominium complex off Huron Parkway north of Geddes Avenue.

Firefighters encountered flames when they entered the building, one of about 15 stand-alone condominiums in the complex. They had the blaze under control within about half an hour but were not able to save it.

Crews were first dispatched to the fire at 3:47 p.m., according to officials.

The Washtenaw-Livingston Chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting the residents, believed to be a couple in their 70s.

Update at 5:44 p.m.

There was light smoke showing when crews from the Ann Arbor Fire Department arrived soon after the initial call came in, Chief Chuck Hubbard said.

"They went to the front door and flames met them there," he added. "They pushed them back. The fire moved really fast because of the high winds."

Around 30 firefighters from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Pittsfield Township used water on the fire and had it out in about a half hour. Huron Valley Ambulance responded, but no one was transported to the hospital.

"(The tenants) got out OK," Hubbard said. They were being attended to at a nearby condominium unit by Red Cross as fire crews cleared the scene Tuesday evening.

The condo was burned all the way up through the attic and suffered heavy damage to the kitchen, living room and den. Other areas of the home were also damaged. The cause was unknown Tuesday night.

Neighbor Jeanette Carr said she discovered the fire as she was coming home Tuesday evening.

"I turned into my driveway and the owner of this condo next door ran at me and he said they just drove in from Pennsylvania," Carr said. "I guess they drove through (the) storm all day yesterday. He said, 'Our phones are out and my house is on fire.' Indeed, by then it was."

Neighbors and fire officials weren't sure if the couple came straight home from a long trip to find the fire, or if they had gotten home earlier and the fire broke out afterwards. Carr said the couple came home in the "late afternoon."

"We're a very close knit neighborhood," said complex resident Arlene Shy, who shivered alongside Carr outside the condos in low-40s temperatures as they waited for crews to clear the scene because Carr was not yet allowed back in her home. "We all know each other very well and support each other. It's a shock."

Both women were pleased with the rapid response of firefighters.

"I made the 911 call and all the trucks in about four and a half minutes," Carr said. "They got here quickly."

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Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

heaDline reads "near huron high school , why? hahah " would someone PLESE think of the children!!!!????" that why.. i rest my case............


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 4:25 a.m.

@ Not A Billy. Dude. You seem to think like us.

not a billy

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:29 a.m.

This is the second fire in the last few weeks that Tower 1 has shown up in pictures, appearing to be operational. Seems strange that it was "out of service" because of a broken frame that was too expensive to repair, but now that a new $1,000,000+ truck has been ordered Tower 1 is again functional. Anybody care to explain?


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

DDOT, that's actually accurate.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

One million dollar truck? Even that seems excessive for the hyperbole throwers here...

John Counts

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Thanks for pointing out the proper name of the road. It's since been changed.

John Counts

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

No sweat. Me too. Maybe we could lobby to get Jackson Avenue changed to "Action Jackson Avenue..."


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Just having a little fun John.

John Counts

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Maybe someday they'll call it John Counts Parkway, but in the meantime I really don't have that much clout. When the story was originally published -- while we were still at the scene of the fire and there was some confusion -- we had erroneously labeled it Huron "River" Parkway. It was pointed out that it was wrong and changed.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

They changed the name of Huron Parkway to suit the article? John, you have some clout brother!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

It's Huron Parkway not Huron River Parkway. Glad everyone is O.K.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

Space heater suspected

not a billy

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

My vote is for the mice. It's getting cold outside and they are moving indoors for the winter. Obviously they were building their nest and one of them found a match (for those who remember what they are) and drug it across the floor, igniting it and subsequently the rest of the house.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

I will throw out my guess that it was a meteor. You, me and Pineywoodsguy can all speculate recklessly with opinions based on absolutely nothing.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

Thus is awful! The folks that live there are super nice - very small community. I hope the resident is okay.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

What exactly is the relevance of Huron HS in the title of the article?

Ann English

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11 p.m.

When I read the headline, I thought at first it was referring to some housing on Asa Grey; it's on the same side of Huron Parkway as the high school is. I thought whatever residences were on Heritage Row had been there for over thirty years. I'm assuming that PineyWoodsGuy meant "under 30 years" when saying that the structures were "recently built." Apparently these condos were added to the street within the past decade.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Clearly the author is not familiar with the names of major Ann Arbor streets, so they had to resort to other simple landmarks. There is no Huron River Parkway in a2.

John Counts

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

You are exactly correct, Jeff. The high school is a quick reference point for readers.

Jeff Renner

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

Location, I imagine. Huron Parkway is several miles long, but just about everyone knows where Huron HS is. It certainly helped me understand immediately where this was.

Linda Peck

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Thank you for the update. I am thankful no one was injured. It is gratifying that the fire departments got there so quickly.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

I drove by about 20 minutes ago and Huron Parkway was blocked off completely by a police vehicle. There seemed to be many emergency vehicles involved. My prayers are out to all those involved and I hope that we will learn more about what happened soon!

Ann English

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Huron Parkway was blocked off completely? Sounds as if the firefighters were drawing water for dousing the fire from the nearby Huron River.

Linda Peck

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

I would like to know more about this story, if possible. If the condo was completely destroyed, I would like to know how long it was burning before the fire department got there. I would also like to know if there were any injuries and the name of the condominium complex. I realize this is early, but I will look for an update.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

I would like a unicorn. And free Samoa cookies for life.