PONTIAC (WWJ) – Waterford fire investigators say a man barbecuing on a second floor deck is likely to blame for a fire that occurred on Saturday at the West Manor Senior Apartment building.
The Waterford Fire Department responded to a severe fire just after 6 p.m. on Saturday that was caused by a balcony barbecue. Upon arrival the crew began evacuating the building before putting out the flames. The entire process took hours.
“They had heavy fire showing on the building, fire extending up into the attic of the building,” Waterford Township Fire Department Deputy Chief Matt Covey told WWJ. “Reports are there was a gentleman barbecuing on a second floor balcony. The barbecue caught fire and made the the fire extend up into the attic, which is a non-sprinkler attic. Those buildings are designed to burn the roof off basically to help keep the fire from going into the actual structure itself where the occupied space is.”
Covey added that it is against code to use any barbecue grill on a balcony of a multi-family dwelling.
Nearly 50 people are homeless as a result of the fire. However, Covey confirmed there were no injuries. Pontiac city leaders along with the Salvation Army and The Red Cross are helping those displaced.
Multiple crews were called to assist the Waterford Township Fire Department. The fire did not spread to any other structures.
Covey said the next step is to figure out what part of the building is safe for the residents to enter and retrieve their belongings. He added it will be several months before repairs are made to the building.