DETROIT (WWJ) – A few weeks after an arson fire destroyed their apartment complex on Detroit’s west side, residents of the Jason Manor apartment complex got together Saturday evening, thanks to St. Vincent de Paul.
Marketing director Michelle Saint-Pierre says they gave residents dinner, music, and some gifts.
“We’ve been working with at least 25 families and individuals that been displaced from the fire, providing them with everything from basic needs to long term care with finding them affordable housing and furniture, prescriptions … those types of things,” said Saint-Pierre.
She told WWJ’s Beth Fisher that the goal is for residents to share experiences and look to the future with hope.
“It’s a chance to really celebrate spring, new hope and to really show them that look, you’ve gone through such a tragedy, but now it’s time to rebuild your life and we’re going to do everything we can to make you feel normal again.”
BACKGROUND: According to police, the incident happened during the early morning hours of March 5 at the Jason Manor Apartments on Schoolcraft Road, near Outer Drive and I-96.
Police were called to the complex around 3:10 a.m. after a 19-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted by multiple men. The call came in as a loud party was talking place in one of the basement units. Investigators said there’s no indication that the woman, who does not live at the complex, knew her attackers.
Just a few hours later, police were called back to the apartments because of a fire. When officers arrived on the scene, the north end of the building was completely engulfed in flames.
Two men have been charged with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting a woman in that complex before the fire broke out. An assistant prosecutor said it’s possible the fire was the result of someone trying to destroy evidence.
The fire, which is still under investigation, has officially been declared an arson.