Firefighters Rescue Seniors From Michigan Apartment Complex Fire

Firefighters on ladders helped senior citizens escape from a fire at a three-story assisted-living complex Wednesday morning, and some residents suffered smoke inhalation and chest pains.

Fire officials at the scene said all residents were evacuated by early afternoon.

Video shot from helicopters from WXYZ-TV, WJBK-TV and WDIV-TV showed firefighters helping people down ladders from balconies of the Lillian & Samuel Hechtman Jewish Apartments in West Bloomfield Township, about 20 miles northwest of Detroit.

Some people were seen on balconies waiting for help as smoke was seen coming from the sprawling building. Firefighters were walking on the roof, creating vents as they worked to extinguish the blaze early Wednesday afternoon.

Assistant Fire Chief Ray Riggs said the fire is believed to have started in a third-floor boiler room. He said one section of the building was extensively damaged, and some people reported suffering from smoke inhalation and chest pains.

Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday with police and the suburban Detroit apartment complex.

Sue Lazar, an office manager at the affiliated Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, says all available employees were called to the scene to help residents.

The complex is part of the nonprofit Jewish Apartments and Services, whose Web site said it serves about 900 elderly residents and their families.