1 dead following apartment fire; baby saved

Fire crews battling a fire at an apartment complex in Battle Creek on May 25, 2016. (Courtesy Brittany Owens via Report It)


PENNFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — One person who was taken to the hospital following an apartment fire in Calhoun County has died, according to Sheriff Matt Saxton.

The call came in around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Four fire departments were on the scene of the fire, which was at the Pines of Pennfield apartments located in the 100 block of Hopkins Street in Pennfield Township, north of Battle Creek.

Walter Bell, 66, was taken to the hospital where he later died from unknown injuries. The cause of death is currently under investigation, according to a press release from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.

A woman told 24 Hour News 8 she had to toss her one-year-old son from a third-floor balcony and jumped herself to escape the fire.

“I’m like, we are not dying today. It’s not our day,” said Amber Day, a resident at the apartment complex.

Day and her one-year-old son Jaelen were trapped on a third-floor balcony as flames ripped through the apartment complex.

Residents gathered on the ground, telling Day to drop her son.

“Just drop him. You are either going to die or just drop. You have two choices,” Ron Sides yelled to Day.

As the fire was raged around her and her son, Day did the unimaginable.

“I’m crying as I’m doing it. This is not something a mother would want to do, but at the same time that is something I would have to do,” said Day. “Luckily that dude was at the bottom and caught him, like caught his whole body from his head to his toe. It was crazy.”

Thankfully, people on the ground found a mattress that they pulled underneath the balcony so Day could jump to safety.

“And then I just jumped. I did not think too much about it. I just jumped. I just thought I got to get out of here,” Day said.

At least half of the 24 apartments in the building are a total loss, according to fire officials. The Red Cross is assisting the residents find a temporary home.

Several local businesses, including Family Fare, Shell and Subway, donated food and water for firefighters and displaced residents.

Fire crews on scene told 24 Hour News 8 they believe the fire started on the second floor, but the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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