Parents grieve daughter killed in apartment fire days before birthday

- A woman was killed in a Sterling Heights apartment fire Wednesday night as several people are left homeless.

Laura Ann Phillips would have turned 34 this weekend.

"She wanted to try and blow out 34 candles because last year she blew out 33 all at once. So I was going to make her her cherry chip cake that she wanted," said her mother, Nancy Phillips.

Phillips lost her life in a fire around 11 p.m. Wednesday at the Sterling Knolls apartments at 15 Mile Road and Maple Lane.

Another resident was hurt, and two fire fighters were taken to the hospital for exhaustion as well, but they will be OK.

However, the woman described as a kind person by her parents did not survive.

"I'm thinking how we are going to get by without her. She was such a part of our life. She meant the world to us," her father Christopher Phillips said.

Fire fighters tried everything possible to get inside the victim's apartment on the second floor, but that's when the roof collapsed, and they didn't have a choice but to exit.

Right now, investigators are looking at every inch of the building to figure out the cause.

"They're using the videos again to see where the fire where was early on ... but they're going to look throughout the whole fire," Sterling Heights Fire Department Chief Christopher Martin said.

According to her parents, Phillips did have a working smoke detector in her unit, but it may not have woken her up in time.

"She was just the perfect daughter," her father said.

In all, 16 units were impacted by this fire.

The American Red Cross came to the scene to help a number of people displaced.

Investigators will be looking at the age of the building to see what kind of fire protection was required to see if it could have made a difference.

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