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Late evening on Wednesday, May 17, the Sterling Heights Fire Department was called to a reported structure fire at Sterling Knolls Apartment Complex located on 15 Mile Road.
Upon arrival, fire crews were confronted with a well-advanced fire in an eight-unit apartment complex. The fire was quickly spreading to an additional adjoining eight-unit complex. All apparatus and personnel from the Sterling Heights Fire Department were called to the scene and a second alarm was called. The second alarm quickly brought assistance from the City of Warren, Clinton Township and Shelby Township.
Fire Chief Chris Martin reports the fire spread quickly to the adjoining building before it was brought under control by the more than 40 firefighters that responded to the scene. Unfortunately, Martin said, there was an occupant of a second floor apartment who was unable to get out. Arriving crews attempted a coordinated effort to reach her, but when they entered her apartment, they were confronted with collapsing ceilings and heavy fire conditions. Laura Ann Phillips, 33, of Sterling Heights, lost her life as a result of the fire. Martin reports two additional residents were removed from their apartment units by firefighters. One was treated at the scene and the second was transported to Beaumont Troy with non-life threatening injuries. Two firefighters, one from Sterling Heights and another from Clinton Township, were taken to area hospitals, treated and released for heat-related injuries. Police and Fire Investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire. As a result of Wednesday’s blaze, 16 families were displaced. The Sterling Heights Fire Department is working with the Red Cross, Sterling Knolls Management and local churches to aid the displaced families. The Fire Marshal has placed preliminary loss estimates at $1.5 million. For more information, please contact Fire Chief Chris Martin at (586)446-2951 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.