WESTLAND (WWJ) – Fire at a Westland apartment complex that was fueled by gusty winds has left about 20 families homeless.

The fire broke out late Monday night at the two-story Woodcrest Apartments near Wayne and Joy roads.

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“It lasted for about five or six hours,” said Irving Porter, who lives nearby. “It was bright orange; a lot of flames.”

Residents told WWJ they felt helpless as they watched the wind blow flames across the building. Belinda Baptiste was among those who “lost everything” in the fire.

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“It was one apartment upstairs on fire, but the wind was blowing really, really hard and it just started traveling down from apartment to apartment,” she said. “The winds would start gusting harder and harder and it was like a ripple effect, going down one apartment to the second apartment to another apartment until the whole rooftop was gone.”

Officials say the good news is that everyone was able to escape the fire safely, although the building is completely gutted. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are helping those who have been left homeless.

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A cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

(credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)