Family dog killed and families lose homes in Benton Harbor apartment complex fire
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Questions remain, as neighbors sift through the ashes after a fire tore through several units at the COGIC Village Apartments.
Benton Harbor Public Safety was called out to the complex just before 7 p.m. Tuesday night, where they found thick, black smoke and red-hot flames coming from the unit at 1942 Territorial Road.
Several people I spoke with said they weren't home when the fire started, but one woman was.
"It was so intense," Luevinia Clark told me. "I was cooking dinner, and all of a sudden I hear a lot of commotion, someone started knocking on my windows and door, telling me to get out of the apartment because the building is on fire! So I ran out of the building and everything was ablaze!"
No one was hurt by the fire, but one family's dog was killed.
Luevinia's apartment managed to escape the flames, but it suffered water and smoke damage.
Other neighbors dealt with the same. Now, most of them are looking to find another place to stay for the time being.
Some of those neighbors believed the fire may have been set intentionally but Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis told me that they're still figuring out who or what started the fire, and they want info from the public.
"Pictures, videos, maybe they saw something. There are a lot of kids in the area, maybe someone was playing with matches or someone threw a cigarette down without thinking out the window," McGinnis said. "Again, we don't think it was intentionally done, but we're hoping we can get some leads on what possibly happened and get the families as well as the apartment complex some answers."
Whatever comes of the investigation, the families just want a home to come back to.
"I just hope all of our families will be able to get comfortable and they can give us somewhere else to live," Luevinia said.
If you have any information about what started the fire, you are urged to reach out to the Benton Harbor Fire Marshal at 269-443-1027.