Fatal fire in downtown Calumet

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Firemen in Calumet battle a Fifth Street fire, along with high winds and heavy snow Saturday evening. The fire claimed the life of one of the building’s tenants. As a precautionary measure, first responders also evacuated the apartment complex next door.

CALUMET — A Saturday evening structure fire on Fifth Street claimed the life of a tenant of the building.

At approximately 7:15 p.m., police were dispatched to 333 Fifth Street in response to a report of smoke in the building, according to a release from the Calumet Police Department.

First responders evacuated tenants living in the upper stories of the building complex. An apartment on the ground level was found burning on the south side of the building, according to the release.

Erin Fisher, a tenant of the building, said she had been shopping at Pat’s Foods earlier and had taken a taxi back to her apartment.

“I came home, I got out of the taxi, and I smelled smoke (as I was) going up the stairs,” Fisher said. “I just got home from a really bad accident and had left my walker behind, and the guy from the taxi helped me get up the stairs.”

Fisher said when she reached her upper-story residence, she saw smoke coming up from either the back stairwell or furnace room, which was located next door to her apartment. Fisher’s neighbor, who is a friend and gives her assistance while she recovers from her accident, was asleep in his apartment at the time.

“My friend was sleeping. He’s helping me out right now, because I can’t move, I can’t function without someone helping me,” she said, adding that her roommate is currently out of town.

“So, I saw the smoke, and I banged on doors and said, ‘Get out right now,'” she said. “I yelled: ‘We need to call 911. We need to get out of this building.’ Me and the taxi driver knocked on all the doors, we tried to get out of there and and help everyone else.”

The press release states that the state fire marshal has been notified in regards to the fire, which remains under investigation. The identification of the deceased male has not been released pending notification of family. Calumet Police Chief Keith Anderson said more details will be released at a later date.

The Calumet Village Police Department was assisted by the Michigan State Police, Lake Linden Village Police Department, Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Calumet Village Fire Department, Calumet Township Fire Department, Houghton County Medical Examiner, Mercy Ambulance and the American Red Cross.