Couple loses everything in fire 1 day after moving

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — An elderly couple lost everything they own in a fire that ripped through a senior citizen apartment complex Monday night – barely 24 hours after they moved in.

Bobbi Hallax told 24 Hour News 8 that her parents, both in their 80s, moved into an apartment at Lakeview Meadows in Battle Creek on Sunday. The complex, which is an independent living facility, includes apartments for sale and for rent.

>>Photos: Fire at Lakeview Meadows

Hallax said her parents had just sold their home to downsize to the apartment, and since they had barely been in their new home for a day, they had not yet insured their possessions. They lost lost decades worth of belongings in the fire.

Battle Creek dispatchers received the first call about smoke coming out of the complex just before 9 p.m., officials said.

Everyone was evacuated from the buildings, and no one was hurt in the fire, which is still under investigation.

Battle Creek fire officials said 53 units burned in the fire, displacing 50 residents. All but nine of the residents went to stay with family or friends, and the rest were put up in hotels or other living facilities.

“Right now, the building is structurally unsafe,” said Battle Creek Fire Chief Dave Schmaltz. “We are not letting anyone in the building.”

Lakeview Baptist Church will be accepting donations of goods for those affected by the fire at its 20th Street location between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. for the next few weeks. Monetary donations may be made by calling the Area Agency on Aging at 269.966.2450. People seeking assistance may also call the Area Agency on Aging at the same number.

“We’ll recover,” Schmaltz said. “The community is strong, we’ll rebuild and people will get their lives back together.”

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