Passersby help evacuate residents, fight fire
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – A kitchen fire destroyed an apartment and caused heavy smoke damage to other units the afternoon of Feb. 8 that displaced the residents of eight apartments at 1730 Goddard Road.
A passerby, Melvindale real estate agent Jason Caperton, said he stopped when he saw flames shooting out of the building, according to published reports. Caperton, a high school varsity bowling coach who was on his way to practice, entered the building and used a fire extinguisher to try to fight the blaze.
Other passersby and apartment residents worked to evacuate those in the apartment, including children, a second-floor disabled person, and cats, before the smoke got too thick to safely stay in the building, at which point Lincoln Park firefighters took over, according to published reports. Firefighters from Southgate and Wyandotte firefighters also responded to the scene.
While all of the residents were evacuated safely, one was taken to a local hospital for evaluation for minor injuries, according to published reports.
While the American Red Cross placed the families in a nearby motel for the short term, as of Feb. 11 the residents had to seek shelter elsewhere, according to published reports.
Maria Coss of Lincoln Park Public Schools said that she and co-worker Sherry Gardner are coordinating relief efforts for the displaced families, and monetary donations have allowed the families to stay in motels after the American Red Cross no longer provided a stipend. A storage unit has also been donated to collect specific donations that the families will need once more permanent housing is found for them.
For more information, call Gardner or Coss at 313-389-0827 or by email at [email protected].
GoFundMe campaigns have been set up for some of the families. A page set up for Audrey and Erik Smith and their three children (www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-audrey-and-erik-smith) has raised $395 of a $5,000 goal as of Feb. 12. A page set up for Patrick and Alyssa Leo and their son (www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-the-leos-family-after-a-apartment-fire) has raised $1,086 of a $10,000 goal.
Repeated calls to Lincoln Park Fire Chief Steve Martin, the police records bureau and Mayor Tom Karnes were unanswered as of press time.