'It happened so fast:' Tenant says grease started apartment fire

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - The Red Cross is helping several families with a place to stay after their apartment building went up in flames Wednesday afternoon.

It happened around 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Plum Tree Apartments in Delta Township.

It took several departments a couple of hours to put it out.

There's still no official word yet as to what caused this fire.

Fire officials say the call originally came in as a grease fire.

Hours after his apartment went up in flames Wednesday afternoon, Jojuan Amerson feels a roller coaster of emotions.

“Definitely heartbroken, there are a lot of memories in the apartment,” said Amerson. “A lot of stuff that we can't replace even with money. “

Amerson says he was heating up grease to cook fries. He shut the heat off, left the room and just like that the fire started.

After several unsuccessful attempts to put it out, it was time to take action.

“It got real black in the kitchen to where I couldn't see and I couldn't breathe,” said Amerson. “I just got out of the apartment and started banging on everybody's door to try to help everyone get out.”

Firefighters rescued people trapped by flames on the third floor balcony.

Nobody was hurt.

For crews, it was a battle against Mother Nature as winds were gusting to 35 mph. Two firefighters were hospitalized for heat exhaustion

They're expected to be fine.

“It happened so fast like you were watching a movie,” said Amerson. “I’m just glad to be alive and I’m glad that everyone else is alive.

Michigan Avenue has since reopened to traffic. It’s a sign of business as usual.

For Amerson , business as usual is going to take a little more time.

“Fire is nothing to play with and grease is nothing to play with,” said Amerson. “Make sure you’re paying attention to everything you do and make sure children around are not messing with fire or anything like that.”

“It can increase faster than you think it can, seriously,” said Amerson.

Amerson tells News 10 renters insurance was required before moving into the apartment complex.

Two pets today were found alive and rescued Wednesday afternoon.

News 10 will continue to track this story for you and let you know when investigators determine the exact cause of the fire.