Community rallies behind victims of Okemos apartment fire

Season of giving gets a new meaning after apartment building catches fire
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 8:27 PM EST
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OKEMOS, Mich. (WILX) - Meridian Township firefighters told News 10 that one person died in Wednesdays fire at Knob Hill Apartments.

Investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire that destroyed homes and displaced dozens of people.

“It’s just a sad time and we feel for the family, and we wish everybody the best,” said Meridian Township Fire Chief Mike Hamel.

Now, the community is stepping up as people and their pets scramble to find clothes, food and shelter right before Christmas.

DTN Management’s Director of Marketing, Denise Todd, told News 10 that they are working with the Red Cross to make sure families have a temporary place to stay.

“We’ve secured the hotel rooms through the 26th and we’re working with the individual families to see what their needs might be, what insurance coverage they have. We’re putting some people up at other DTN communities and others are choosing to move elsewhere,” Todd said. “So, we’re just supportive with whatever they need to do as a family.”

According to the management company, all residents are required to have renters insurance when signing a lease - there’s no requirement on the level of coverage residents must have.

Meridian Township is working to provide Christmas gifts for kids and other basic necessities. Township Manager Frank Walsh said the township is also lining up restaurants for free meals.

In addition to that, Walsh said they’ll be “working with different groups to plan a Christmas party for the family and the kids on Saturday. We’ve received almost $20,000 now in donations from the community through Meridian Cares, which is a group here in the township. So, we’ll be using some of those funds, a small portion of that, for the Christmas party.”

In the meantime, families are keeping warm at the Holiday Inn Express about two minutes away from Knob Hill Apartments where the fire started. The hotel told News 10 they were busy sorting items for those in need.

Those who would like to help those impacted by the fire can do so by contacting the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) or Meridian Township Deputy Township Manager Dan Opsommer at 517-281-6034.

Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter is collecting pet supplies for the families impacted. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter – located at 600 Buhl Street in Mason – or at Holiday Inn Express – located at 2350 Jolly Oak Road in Okemos.

You can also help through Meridian Cares. When you donate, you need to specify you are donating to the Knob Hill Apartment fire victims.

Some places are no longer accepting items due to the influx of those willing to donate. News 10 is working to talk with those places to learn more. You can learn more from Meridian Township.

Prior coverage:

Crews respond to a second fire at Knob Hill Apartment Complex in Okemos

Okemos apartment fire displaces dozens of families just before Christmas

1 killed in Knob Hill Apartment fire in Okemos

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