ALLEN PARK (WWJ) – At least one person is dead after fire rips through a senior apartment complex.

A number of senior citizens, many in wheelchairs, were rushed to the hospital after fire and heavy smoke made its way through the building on Champagne and Allen roads in Allen Park.

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“They were hanging out the windows because there was no oxygen in the apartment to breath, they got out though,” said one firefighter.

For Allen Park Fire Chief Douglas LaFond the fire hit close to home … his own mother had to escape the fire by ambling down a ladder.

“Yeah, it was pretty intense there for a while there,” said LaFond,”my mother had to be brought down a ladder.”

“It started on the second floor,” said a resident, “I don’t know what happened, a lady came and knocked on my door … I just don’t know.”

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The chief said there were about 25 ladder rescues that took place.

“We immediately started ladder rescues from all aspects of the building – don’t have a final count yet but we did about 25 ladder rescues, ” said LaFond.

All 61 units in the complex were evacuated.

Several nearby fire departments are helping Allen Park.

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No word yet on what may have caused the fire.