Child may have started fire at townhouses Tuesday night

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Thirty people were displaced because a fire damaged a row of townhouses on Council Drive in Benton Township around 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Benton Township fire investigators returned to the apartment complex Wednesday to see if they could determine how Tuesday night's fire started.

"It is possible that it was a juvenile playing with matches," said Lieutenant Gustav Parsons of the Benton Charter Township Fire Department.

The fire caused more than $250,000 worth of damage and left several families homeless.

James Poole, who lives right next door, says the fire rushed him out of his home.

"The flames were just busting out all the windows and busting the doors. All you heard was glass breaking and fire popping.  And like the pole line going to fall," said Poole. "You could smell gas and really bad smoke and even standing all the way across the street the smoke was still on your clothes."

The fire department urges parents to teach their kids fire safety to prevent other accidental fires.

"It is very important because if we can get to the kids and teach them about fire safety then we can prevent this from ever happening," said Parsons.

The Red Cross said one family was displaced to a hotel. The other people who lost their home in the fire had a place to go.

Electricity and water have been turned back on to the rest of the homes.

Any residents who still need help from the Red Cross can call the agency at 269-556-9619.

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