Our network

Two people burned in Holland apartment fire | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Two people burned in Holland apartment fire

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A toddler and a woman believed to be her grandmother suffered serious burns on Wednesday when their apartment was suddenly engulfed by flames.

Firefighters say an initial explosion and then fire started just before noon at the Pompa Vidals apartment complex on East Lakewood Boulevard in Holland Township.

Maria Gutierrez-Fuentes, 60, and Layla Cahue-Romero, 2, were taken to Butterworth Hospital for their injuries. As of Thursday morning, Layla is listed as stable, while Maria is in critical condition.

An explosion turned a beautiful day into an ugly mess in seconds at the Pompa Vidals apartment complex.

"I talked to my wife, 'Was that thunder?', She said, 'No, it's a beautiful day outside', looked out the back and there was debris everywhere," says Juan Contreras who lives at the apartment complex.

There was smoke, flames, and a loud sound.

"We were in there getting our nails done and all of a sudden we heard a boom and I looked out the window from where I was sitting and I saw the wall fall on the car," says Jeanne Scholten.

Neighbors sprang into action.

"I was in my underwear, had to put my pants on, start knocking on every door getting people out of there," says Contreras.

Firefighters got the call at around 11:45. In all, seven units were damaged by the fire but unit #2 got the worst of it; there was nothing left of it.

"We saw the little girl that was injured, she had skin hanging off her arm, real bad burns," says Contreras.

"My understanding is they walked out, they walked out on their own power," says Holland Township Fire Chief Jim Kohsel.

Everyone else had already evacuated when firefighters arrived on scene. The cause of the fire is not known at this point.

"We do have a report that there was maintenance being done on a water heater, but at this point that is just information we will investigate to find out what the cause was of the fire," says Fire Chief Kohsel.

Contreras says he got four or five people out of the building, but now he's thinking about the two people he didn't get to.

"She's in our prayers, hopefully they'll be fine," says Contreras.

In addition to the 7 units that were damaged, 14 other units have no working utilities. That means no one will be staying at the apartment complex on Wednesday night.

The Red Cross is assisting families in need of a place to stay.

The fire remains under investigation.