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Posted on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

More than 40 firefighters battling apartment complex fire

By Kyle Feldscher

Flames shot through the roof and heavy black smoke billowed from a building at the Schooner Cove Apartments Monday afternoon as more than 40 firefighters from several departments battled a blaze at the complex in Ypsilanti Township.

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Firefighters battle a blaze a the Schooner Cove Apartments in Ypsilanti Township Monday afternoon.

Joe Tobianski |

Pieces of siding and gutters fell from the L-shaped three-story apartment building off Huron River Drive as firefighters poured water on it from aerial ladder trucks.

Residents had been evacuated, and Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said she did not believe anyone had been taken to the hospital.

Schooner Cove fire

Complete coverage of the fire at the Ypsilanti Township apartment complex

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., firefighters could be seen rescuing a cat that had been sitting on a third-floor window sill. Firefighters extended a ladder to the window and used it to smash the glass. The cat ran away, but one firefighter reached far into the apartment to grab it while another held onto his legs.

They brought the cat down and and handed it to a neighbor, who wrapped it in a blanket and took it inside.

Another firefighter was holding a dog that was also taken from the building.

Firefighters from Ypsilanti Township, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, Augusta Township and Superior Township and paramedics from Huron Valley Ambulance were among those who responded to the blaze, which broke out about 1 p.m.

By about 2:30 p.m., firefighters had knocked the blaze down with only hot spots remaining.

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Carol Wright

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Kudos to all the rescue workers today - firefighters, police, EMS, Red Cross, and even the Blanket Express...tirelessly doing your jobs, going above and beyond, and deserving of so much respect from EVERYONE...residents, bystanders, pet owners, gawkers, etc. And Lounsberry - you are correct; when a structure fire alarm goes off, "Mutual Aid" is toned out for all surrounding departments to respond. Luckily we are blessed to have so many in this area with multiple stations in Pittsfield, Ann Arbor, Ypsi areas. These guys don't get paid enough for the danger they put themselves into; but they do it becasuse that's what they've chosen and WANT to do. Fires are devastating, but lives can be put back together. I personally will be contributing to helping these people put their lives back together. (And not 'gossiping' about smoke alarms, firewalls, code, cause, or any of that which cannot be undone at this point. You move forward and step up to help.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

Question. Is this complex related and/or owned by the one off Ann Arbor Saline Road? Meaning, didn't the same thing happen to that complex that is happening here? Strange twist of fate if you ask me.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

So who's the guy that I saw they had in handcuffs around the corner from the fire? Did he have a role in this? Yes, thank you for saving pets-- I hope that's all there were, just two.

not a billy

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

For YpsiYapper - the window stickers for pets and people have been around for forty years or more. A couple of problems with them. First, other than letting responders know that there are pets in the building, the challenge of locating the pets is the issue. They used to be placed on bedroom windows for firefighters to locate kids and invalids. Same issue here, plus as the crime problems grew the thinking shifted to one of concern over letting the criminal know where the kids and invalids were - it would be a lot easier to overpower a one of these encountered during a break-in so that would be the most likely entry point. Other problems were that quite often the windows are blackened or broken by time FD gets there and stickers are gone or not visible. Also, people never removed them if they moved out and all too often the new tenants would leave them up. Seems like a good concept but it has it's flaws.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I'll bet that Ann Arbor's Fire Dept was not as useful as Pittsfield or the Ypsi Fire Dept. Why? They have working ladder trucks while our mayor chooses to spend the money on Hurinals, bike lanes, and anything but public safety. Not so silly.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

johnnya2 boy - No local dept has 40 men on duty at a time. When a BIG fire breaks out, they all request help from each other. I was pointing out that Ann Arbor doesn't bring as much to the "table" as it once did since its equipment is often in disrepair. Oh, so silly Go read the great articles and postings by University Bank President Stephen Ranzini on this topic. He explains it better than I do.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

I'm pretty sure a fire of that nature would always attract help from surrounding departments.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Well since the fire happened in Ypsilanti, it would be THEIR job to do it, NOT the A2 fire department. They were there because the people of Ypsi Township want lower taxes and do not want to pay for extra staff.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

I wonder if the apartments had the required PROPER fire separation drywall installed in the attic from ceiling to underside of roof decking between attached units as required? For such a blaze, that may not have helped, but just wondering....... Nobody seems to see the importance of same, until after a building (and lives) are lost.......


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

We would have to see what code and year they fell under, however, i recall in the early 80's a 1 hr fire separation was included then. Not sure when these apartments were built. Please do not let the Township or CIty off easy without proving what code they were under at the time. They can just issue a blanket statement and say" Oh, the fire separations were not required at that time" Let's see the proof! Maybe they were...... And if by chance they were not required, why not do all the apartment dwellers a favor and require them as a life saving safety precaution? Sure it will be expensive to the owners...... What's a life or two worth these days? When an unattended kitchen stove fire in one unit can burn down an entire complex, how is that justified? Even if the fire separation drywall was required, how many local inspectors would even bother to crawl into the attic space to look and verify the the drywall was properly installed, fastened, taped and mudded as required?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

Same thing happened a few years back over off Ann Arbor Saline Road by Meijers.

not a billy

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

These buildings were built in late 70s/early 80s, and yes the "inspectors" in Ypsi Twp. were still part of the Good Ole Boy network. They met the fire codes then, but then we invented cable TV. Amazing how many times cable guys cut thru the firewalls to push wires. The drywall to the roof works well to contain the fire to a smaller area if the wall extends thru the roof at least a couple of feet between units.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

Are you saying building inspectors aren't doing their jobs?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

Pet Owners: This is a good time to be reminded to put pet warning decals on windows and doors. Pets left home alone are helpless in a fire if behind locked doors. Especially if you are out working and you have a pet home alone. My biggest nightmare would not be losing my belongings. My precious, unconditional loving dog, is irreplacable. My neighbors admire the fact that I did this. However I do not see any of them following my example. Your dog or cats favorite hiding or sleeping area should be on the decal as well so the responders know where to look. I went through a fire as a child and I know from experience time can be the difference between life and death. Give your pet a chance to be rescued and decal your doors and windows. Also if you take the pet out with you leave a note in plain view and use big block letters to let rescuers know he or she is not there. The time saved not looking could be used to save another person or pet.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Ypsiyapper, thank you for the reminder! I recently moved to Ypsilanti and while I'm here in A2, will go to Peaceable Kingdom, where these stickers are for sale and buy one for my apt. door. Again, on behalf of "Esther" and myself, thanks for the reminder. will do this TODAY. as soon as I log off!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

If they know where the dogs or cats are, then they can be rescued. They will not die trying to get to the animals, but with their sensor equipment, they can do what they can. We have two stickers on our windows facing the street. Ours are locked up in one room so they be gotten to if there is a fire. Glad to hear our pet friends were and are ok. It can be frightening to be displaced.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

I have 2 dogs I love, but no stickers on my house. My biggest nightmare is a firefighter dying for one of my dogs.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to save the pets too!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

God Bless them for all they do. A fire is so devastating for those that are the victims of them.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

And yes! FIrst responders are incredible people who never get the respect and thanks they deserve. Thank you always to the fire fighters, police, Red Cross and other organizations that know exactly what needs to be done and do it with such grace and kindness.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

Please do whatever little bit you can to help these people. Even if they have insurance, it will not totally cover the loss. And, in the immediate aftermath, even essentials are so important. Having gone through this with my mom this summer in Colorado, it means everything to know that you are not alone and that the community cares. I will be calling Red Cross as soon as I post this to find out where to drop off bedding, towels, toothpaste, and anything else that I might think of.

music to my ear

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

thank you fire fighters you are our heros.

Samantha Towler

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

The Blanket Express dropped off blankets for the residents.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Wow. I don't live far from there and drove by there this morning. Wonder what the cause was? Hopefully everyone is okay. Hopefully all affected have renters insurance.

Matt Lang

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

The early info was that a grease fire got out of control. 4 units were destroyed, the other 8 ruined with water damage. At least 12 people will have to find a new place to live for 2-4 months, which would suck any time of the year.