No residents injured in fire at Buchanan apartment complex

BUCHANAN — After battling flames for hours, the Buchanan Fire Department reported that no residents were injured during a fire at a Buchanan apartment complex Monday.

According to Buchanan City Fire Chief Robert Adams, units were called to the West Wind Apartments, located off Front Street in Buchanan, before 11 a.m. Monday. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they were met with visible smoke and flames coming from one building in the complex. As of 1 p.m., the fire was under control but had not yet been extinguished.

“There is pretty extensive damage [to the complex],” Adams said. “We don’t want to lose a building, but the biggest thing is that we don’t want to have any injuries or worse.”

According to Adams, no human residents were injured in the fire. However, as of 1 p.m., a dog living in the complex was unaccounted for, and two residents told Leader Publications their cats were not evacuated from the building.

Currently, the cause of the fire is undetermined.

“We have no idea yet [what caused the fire],” Adams said. “The investigation is coming.”

For the residents of the West Wind Apartments, the fire was a frightening moment that they will not soon forget.

Resident Lauren Polk was inside her home when the fire started and said the experience left her “anxious and scared.”

“I heard a smoke alarm, so I peeked out the door, woke my husband, made sure the kids had coats and shoes, and we ran out,” Polk said. “It was surreal. I knew we needed to get out, but I didn’t think it would result in this. I thought it was maybe a small kitchen fire, not a huge flame.”

Resident Carrie Gibson lives at West Winds with her daughter. While she said her daughter and one of her cats were able to escape the fire, her family could not rescue their second cat before having to evacuate the building.

“It’s devastating,” Gibson said of the fire. “But my daughter is safe, and that is really what matters.”

Despite the tragedy of the fire, some residents said they were touched by the way complex residents came together to help one another and keep each other safe during the fire.

Two such neighbors are Carolyn Macomber and Kelly Norton. When the fire broke out, Macomber was in St. Joseph, while her beloved dog, Mandy, remained inside her apartment. Unbeknownst to Macomber at the time, Norton ensured firefighters rescued Mandy and kept the dog warm and secure until Macomber arrived at the scene.

“Neighbors, they mean the world, and good neighbors mean the world,” Macomber said. “When you go through stuff like this, you need good neighbors.”

Area agencies, including the Red Cross and the Niles Salvation Army, were on scene to aid residents displaced by the fire, while warming stations were set up at nearby churches.

Cass County

Niles community helps toddler fight leukemia

Cass County

MEC announces 2021 scholarship winners

Berrien County

Click It or Ticket campaign runs through June 6

Berrien County

After 2020 cancellations, southwest Michigan communities look forward to traditional Memorial Day festivities

Business

PHOTO STORY: Inaugural spring market draws visitors, vendors from surrounding areas

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 876,854 cases, 18,627 deaths

Berrien County

Berrien County asks for public input with emergency management survey

Cass County

Man involved in 2020 murder of Dowagiac man pleads guilty

News

PHOTO STORY: Niles Renaissance Faire sees success in its third year

Cassopolis

Cass County Medical Care Facility hosts parade

Berrien County

Buchanan man sentenced to jail time for drug possession

Dowagiac

Kalamazoo man injured in Wayne Township motorcycle crash

Berrien County

UWSM CEO chosen for United Way worldwide task force

Cassopolis

Teen killed in Ontwa Township shooting confirmed to be Cassopolis student

News

Niles Police Log: May 5-12

Cass County

New pavilion project breaks ground in Russom Park

Breaking News

Police investigating fatal shooting of 15-year-old girl

Cass County

New look: Dowagiac District Library welcomes guests with grand opening ceremony

Dowagiac

SMC graduating 87 with honors

Cass County

Dowagiac resident sentenced for tampering with monitoring device, fleeing police

Dowagiac

Dowagiac city manager discusses area development

News

Resident connected with unpublished manuscript handwritten by her mother

Business

Niles business wins 2021 distinction, given green light to build kitchen

Cass County

Homeless man gets jail for attempting to steal vehicle