About 25 seniors have to find another place to stay Friday after their high-rise apartment building caught fire around 7:30 a.m. While most of the fire occurred in one apartment, 26 other units have some form of water, smoke or fire damage. Had firefighters not arrived when they did, there may have been fatalities.
When firefighters arrived, they found a women in her sixties trapped on her sixth story balcony.
"It's kind of unusual," said Dennis Goff, a resident at Friendship Manor. "I've never seen this many fire trucks or Lansing firemen in one place at one time in all the years I've lived in Lansing."
Marge Greene, a friend and neighbor of the women trapped on the balcony identified her as Sherry Wilson.
"I knew that there was something very seriously wrong because there were two fire trucks that I could see and I could see the ladders going up to the different apartments," said Greene.
Wilson had five oxygen tanks in her apartment. One tank exploded just before firefighters got to her. Eyewitness say at one point Wilson's hair caught fire. Michael Rose and Zach Parsons were the firefighters that made the rescue.
"Zach got her torso up and over. I reached around to get her hips and her legs to swing her into the bucket. The flames, you could see there was a lot of heat, flames were coming out of the door," said Rose, the acting captain in the Lansing Fire Department.
Parsons said the first thing out of Wilson's mouth was an expression of gratitude.
"Yeah, she thanked us and was thankful that we were there. And our most important thing at that time was making sure that she was medically ok as well," said Parsons.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. People who know Wilson say she does smoke.
"As I was going down the hall for the first time, I could hear dripping, and I looked up and I could see the ceiling start to come down, and lots of water seepage," said Greene.
It took Lansing firefighters 30 minutes to extinguish a fire. Wilson and a firefighter were both taken to Sparrow Hospital for minor injuries.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero stopped to make sure all the residents were ok.
"It was a just in time rescue. The kind of thing that you read about that people that you watch on TV, somebody literally being rescued from a burning building," said Bernero. "We needed to have that equipment and that response here at the right time it was here. Praise God we have no fatalities here today.
The Red Cross says 15 of the 25 residents whose apartments were affected have family in the area. The remaining 10 will be staying in local hotels tonight.