Dozens displaced after early morning fire

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- One person was critically injured after a fire broke at the Hotel Indy (Apartments) at about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The victim was out of the structure when firefighters arrived, and was transported to the hospital. Six other victims also were sent to the hospital for treatment. Seven residents were checked by medical personnel at the fire scene and released.

"About 45 minutes into it, it was upgraded to a second alarm relatively quickly, mostly that was for manpower which means that it brings additional resources. It was labeled a level 1 mass casualty, which brings additional resources to the scene. We have about  six or seven ambulances that were called to the scene," said Battalion Chief Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department.

The initial emergency alerts included multiple reports of people trapped in the hotel. Ten residents had to be rescued by firefighters, who used ladders to pull them from windows. A total of 45 people were evacuated from the building. The fire was under control by 4:30 a.m., IFD said.

"Ten people were pulled out by firefighters from either ladders or from windows out pulled out balconies off the ground ladder," Reith said. "All seem to be in good health, they’re being checked out at the scene and kept warm."

One of the residents said screams woke her up in the morning.

"Well, I heard screaming, yelling, I didn’t know what was going on, I woke up out of my sleep, opened the door, black and grey smoke just consuming to the point to where I couldn’t get anywhere down the hall, so I closed the door back," said Diane Springfield. "I took a chair and busted out the window. Climbed up over the air conditioner. Three firefighters were waiting when I got out to help me down and just told me to go you know to safety and get some medical help, and I did."

While the cause of the fire is unknown, investigators believe it started in the basement of the residential hotel. The fire caused an estimated $80,000 in damage. We have learned the building was inspected by fire officials in August and November of 2016, where it was cited for six "minor violations." Authorities say management was in the process of repairing those problems.

The immediate concern was taking care of people who were evacuated. Buses were being used to shelter the displaced residents, and the American Red Cross was also providing assistance.