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Good Samaritan saves family from fire on Indy’s near south side

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 27, 2015) –A family of four has a good Samaritan to thank this morning after he helped rescue them when their apartment building caught on fire.

IFD crews were called to a working apartment fire near the intersection of S East Street and Iowa Street around 10:45 a.m. Friday morning.

You could hear the fear in the voices of those who called 911.

"The house is burning down! ... Please help us, please. We've got kids in here," one caller said.

Neighbors described smoke so intense it engulfed the block.

"It was just a big cloud of smoke. You couldn't see anything," neighbor Pam Jones said.

"It was huge. You couldn't see down here at all," neighbor Derek Mountcastle said.

The first to see that smoke was Bill Spurr, who was standing right across the street.

"(I was) just looking at it like, man, that’s smoke. It’s black smoke and then she started hanging out the window, (screaming) 'Help, help!" Spurr said.

Those screams were from a mother, with her one, two and six year old kids inside the upstairs apartment. Spurr ran to help, as another man drove his truck to the curb with a ladder inside.

"I ran up the ladder and pulled the babies out, snatching them up by the back of the head and handing them down," Spurr said.

You could even hear it all unfolding in the background of other calls to 911.

"Get that kid out the window," one caller yelled.

"They're taking the kids out right now. Somebody's got a ladder up there," another caller said.

IFD was able to put the fire out a short time later.

Paramedics took all three kids, their mother and a man living downstairs to the hospital to be checked out. They were all expected to be alright.

"They (were) coughing and choking up, crying, but I mean they (were) okay," Spurr said.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital to be checked out after a fall down the stairs, but he was also in good condition.

The man downstairs told firefighters it was an extension cord running under his bed and into a space heater that sparked the fire. No smoke alarm went off.

Lynne Smith, who lives in the 3rd unit in the building, was the only resident not home at the time.

"When my sister called me, the only thing that mattered to me was that everybody was alright," Smith said.

She said that she's grateful everyone got out alive and that Spurr and others sprang into action so quickly.

"It’s material things. It’s replaceable. What’s important is the safety of everyone," Smith said.

"My adrenaline was going so fast. ... I was lucky to be  here, I guess," Spurr said.