Castleton fire victims say alarms didn’t sound

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Residents are recovering what they can after fire tore through a northeast side apartment complex early Thursday morning.

The fire destroyed several units at the Waterside at Castleton apartments, and now some people who survived that fire say they never heard the alarms going off.

“Somebody started pounding on our door, saying ‘fire, fire, fire, fire,’” said resident Bill. That pounding was from a good-hearted neighbor, and Burmeister said it’s the only thing that woke up him and his wife up early Thursday morning.

“As soon as we walked out, we looked up and all we could see was flames coming our way,” said Burmeister.

He says they have almost nothing now, all lost when flames ripped through the apartment they’d called home for three years. But worrying about rebuilding their life isn’t his only concern.

“We didn’t hear any alarms,” said Burmeister. Baumeister claims none of the fire alarms went off, including the emergency levers he says other neighbors pulled.

IFD is still investigating, but said because the fire likely started on an outside, second-floor deck, then spread into a common attic area, the flames and smoke stayed above the second-floor smoke alarms. That prevented them from activating.

“It’s very concerning to all the residents,” said Burmeister, “it should be very concerning to everybody who is in any kind of apartment.”

Fire investigators said some residents did report hearing alarms after emergency hallway levers were pulled. Investigators also said the complex passed a fire inspection with no violations in 2016.

“I’m a little uneasy about going back, especially if we’re going to be under those same conditions,” said Burmeister, “you know, if another fire breaks out, maybe we might not have the neighbors like we did over there.”

A representative from the apartment’s management company said they are working with investigators to determine a cause and said they had no previous problems or issues with the alarm system.

They also said they’re grateful no one was seriously injured and are working to find new places for those affected to live.