SHELBY TOWNSHIP (WWJ) — A single candle is believed to be the cause of a fire which damaged about a dozen apartments in Shelby Township.

Firefighters believe a candle tipped over while a resident in the Pebble Creek Apartments slept and burned for a while before the resident woke up to a smoldering scene.

Shelby Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski says the man and his son tried to move the burning couch out of the apartment but couldn’t do it.

“Him and his son tried to get the couch out — unable to because of the smoke — so they got out called us, and by the time our first engine got here from like a mile and a half away – next thing you know the fire was through the apartment, through the roof and shooting up in the air,” said Swinkowski.

A total of 10 units in the complex were damaged — putting dozens of people scurrying for safety and now alternative housing.

Nieghbor Lonnie O’Bryant lives next door to where the fire started: “There are a lot of innocent people who had nothing to do with it and now they have to get out of their home and everything because of the fire.”

Fire crews from Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Macomb Township, Utica, Rochester and Rochester Hills were called to the apartments off West Utica Road near Mound Road — just after 2:30 a.m.

No injuries reported.


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