- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An early-morning Wednesday fire that engulfed a three-story apartment building in Detroit sent panicked residents jumping from windows to escape the flames.

“I heard a lady say, ‘Jump if you have to, jump if you have to,’” said one 52-year-old resident who saw flames after waking up to make coffee, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It happened so quick. Everybody jumped.”

Firefighters have saved about 25 people so far, but “a lot” are still missing and unaccounted for, Detroit Police Officer Jennifer Morenao told the Free Press. Several were transported to a local hospital for treatment of various injuries.

A school bus was tasked to the complex to give those temporarily displaced an area to sit and recover, the newspaper reported.

“A lot of people were half-naked,” Doug Woodcock, a nearby apartment building supplier, told the Free Press. “We gave them shoes.”

The fire, which started about 6 a.m., was at times so intense that flames spread onto a nearby highway. The apartment complex was been completely destroyed, leaving 39 families without homes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. But the blaze started near the spot that police were called to a few hours earlier for an attempted-rape accusation that led to a 19-year-old female’s hospitalization. The two events aren’t necessarily related, police said.