INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Four firefighters were injured and more than two dozen people were forced out of their homes Friday evening after a three-alarm apartment fire on the south side of Indianapolis.
It happened just after 2:30 p.m. on Rue Royale at Regency Park Apartments.
24-Hour News 8 learned three three firefighters were taken to the hospital and one was treated at the scene. They all had different injuries from a concussion to chest pain.
An Indianapolis Fire Department battalion chief said everyone inside the apartment where the fire started made it out safely. The battalion chief said the fire may have been sparked by cooking grease. Seven people ranging from the ages of 40 to 6 lived in the apartment where the fire started.
“They (occupants) believe it was grease. They were cooking french fries on the stove,” said Rita Reith, the battalion chief. “The grease kept popping out of the pan and caught onto one of the burners and started the fire.”
Dozens of firefighters from three different departments worked to get everything under control at Regency Park Apartments. Firefighters got to the scene and saw heavy smoke and flames coming from several of the units.
“There was just a bunch of sirens, and, you know, I was checking it out and I actually thought it was a school shooting,” said Mary Perkins, who lives at the apartment complex and suffered smoke damage in her residence. “You know, because it was right behind when they start to pull up.”
Perkins was home with her three children and dog when firefighters told her to evacuate.
“I just hurry up to get them ready quick and get out, you know,” she said. “Because I knew it wasn’t exactly our house. We got out and thank God.”
She said she smelled the smoke.
“Oh, yes, it’s strong. It’s still strong in there,” she said. “It was coming out of the roof all through.”
The Indianapolis Fire Department had to call for extra help from Beech Grove and Greenwood to make sure the fire didn’t spread because of the strong winds.
But, during the process of setting up the hydrant and hose to establish water suppy, Private Matt Myers and Lt. Daniel Marden were thrown in the air.
“When the engine pulled forward, somehow the way they were positioned and the way the hose was positioned, knocked them off their feet and onto the ground,” Reith said.
Myers landed on his head and Marden on his side and injured his arm. 24-Hour News 8 saw one of them being carried away on a stretcher. Both were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital. Myers remained hospitalized Friday night.
“Pretty scary few moments for them and for their crew as we had to tend to them and worked on the entrapment issue as well,” Reith said.
A third firefighter also had chest pain and a fourth had a small steam burn.
The fire impacted five units with smoke, fire and water damage. The fire caused an estimated $300,000 in damages. But luckily, everyone made it out safely.
“I give Jesus the credit for that because that’s who protect us so I’m thankful,” Perkins said.
The American Red Cross has stepped in to help several people with a place to stay.