GREENVILLE — Chris Myers was evacuated from his downtown apartment around 3:30 a.m. this morning after police told him the building next door was on fire.
Officer Mark Cole was doing a routine patrol on foot through downtown when he noticed smoke coming from the AAA Insurance building located at 210 S. Lafayette.
“He called the (officers) on duty and activated a fire page,” said Greenville Department of Public Safety Interim Director Gary Valentine.
When Myers was evacuated from his apartment, he said the scene didn’t look like much. He described the smoke he saw as “smoke coming from a chimney.”
The fire started in the basement. Parts of the building received moderate fire damage while the entire building received extensive smoke damage, he said.
Maple Valley Township, Lakeview District, Belding and Montcalm Township Fire Departments assisted the Greenville Department of Public Safety.
“They did a phenomenal job of extinguishing the fire,” Valentine said.
No injuries were reported.
Valentine is not sure what caused the fire and expects a lengthy investigation to determine the cause.
Cole, a fire investigator, summoned a Greenville-area construction contractor to the scene. The contractor allegedly was performing work in the basement earlier this week.
Roy LaMarte owns the building and the AAA Insurance business on the first floor. The upper two floors have been vacant for years.
He was not at the scene and could not be reached for comment this morning.
LaMarte has plans to renovate the upper two floors into apartments, which are contingent on receiving incentives. He purchased a small piece of the adjacent Lafayette Park last spring to accommodate a new elevator shaft required for the apartments.