Five Firefighters Trapped in Burning Building

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Residents of downtown Leslie woke up to billows of smoke as flames consumed an upstairs apartment. They escaped just in time.

"I woke up about 6 o'clock, smelled smoke and we got out. We got our dogs then woke up the neighbors," said Ron Stevens, who evacuated his apartment next door to Moo's Bar & Grill.

The owners of Moo's Bar & Grill downstairs arrived to find their means of retirement engulfed in flames. But it wasn't their business that worried them.

"My first concern was Gary, our tenant. Then the on set of sadness and dread took over. We put our blood, sweat and tears into that place," said co-owner of Moo's Bar & Grill, Mindy Ross.

Their tenant was the only person inside when the fire broke out. He was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Seven agencies countywide continued to fight the fire that was growing more dangerous.

In the midst of fighting the fire, the roof collapsed on the second story. Then, the weight of the roof collapsed the 2nd floor onto the first. Five firefighters were trapped inside.

"When a Mayday is called that goes to everyone in the county. That is the most serious situation in a fire scene," said Ingham County emergency manager Sgt. Robert Ott.

The men were trapped for 15 minutes inside the burning building. They were rushed to Sparrow Hospital with minor injuries. No other firefighters would be permitted inside the unstable building.

"Now that we had a collapse, we don't want anyone else getting injured. Our priority is lives over property," said Sgt. Ott.

So the owners of Moo's Bar & Grill watched as their business and friend's home burned to the core.

"He's an older man and this is all he had. That's what we care about now. We'll make sure he has what he needs like clothes," said Ross.

The building and upstairs apartment are considered total losses.
Community members say historic Main Street is the life blood of their small town and they will come together to rebuild it.

Main Street in Leslie between Bellvue and Carney will remain closed until Monday for clean-up.


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