Crews work through night battle fire at apartment building

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Crews have been working through the night on a devastating fire that took out an entire Grand Rapids apartment building.

The fire was reported between 5:00 and 6:00 Thursday evening. Smoke was still pouring through the building past midnight.

Crews are working on hot spots.

The cause is still under investigation. Some neighbors believe the fire may have been started by a child.

Grand Rapids fire officials expect to be on scene of the fire through Friday morning. They've been watching for hot spots and letting the fire burn itself out.

They say the building is a total loss.

You can see in the video above just how intense the flames were. Thick smoke could be seen for miles as well.

This is an apartment building at 4th Street and Seward Avenue.

Firefighters tell us all 10 units were destroyed and the Red Cross is helping 18 people find a place to stay Friday morning.

Many of them escaped with just the clothes on their backs as firefighters pounded on their doors as the fire quickly spread.

"I was sleeping because I work 3rd shift and then all of a sudden a firefighter came up and said you have to wake up now. I'm sorry, I lost everything. My daughter she has no way to come home now," said April Hess.

"I was leaving for the store and I saw smoke around the back of the building. I thought somebody was firing up a barbecue. I should have stopped then, but I didn't. I thought it was just the neighbors. It wasn't. It was two boys. Somebody else saw them. They were setting leaves on fire next to the back of the building," said Jeff Stanton.

We were told by a few residents that young boys were seen lighting leaves on fire.

Grand Rapids fire officials say they are investigating all possibilities, but at this time the cause is unknown.