Fire at Niles Villa Apartments

NILES, MI. -- Officials are still investigating the cause of an apartment fire at the North Niles Villa Apartments. The fire broke out Tuesday evening, firefighters received the call around 10:30 p.m.

One apartment building with 17 apartments was evacuated. Most people were able to exit safely. One man was rescued by firefighters from the third floor. 

The entire roof of the building was burnt off in the fire, leaving the third floor with water smoke and fire damage, according to Niles City Fire Captain Don Wise. The lower levels have water damage. 

It took about 45 minutes to an hour for crews to put the fire out. Seven departments responded to the scene. 

Wise said when firefighters arrived on scene smoke alarms were going off. He stressed the importance of having a working fire alarm for safety. 

"We're getting ready to change our clocks. When we change our clocks, take a moment and change the batteries in your smoke detector," Wise said. "Because that fire was burning in the attic for a while and so when it breaks through the ceiling and gives you smoke, that gives you even less time to get out. You have to have a plan, you have to practice it, and you have to have working smoke detectors."

Wise said most of those evacuated from the apartments stayed with family members overnight. For those who did not have family in the area, the Red Cross relocated them. 

The entire building will not be inhabitable for a while, according to Wise. 

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