RICHMOND, Ind. – A fire at a Richmond apartment complex left two people dead and sent at least five other residents to a local hospital Monday evening.
Richmond Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Brown says those hospitalized are expected to be okay and two firefighters were also treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
First responders were called to the Interfaith Apartments on North West Fifth Street shortly before 5 p.m. When authorities arrived, they found heavy smoke on the fifth floor.
Black smoke reportedly covered both the fifth and sixth floors, which made it difficult for firefighters to determine which apartment contained the fire.
The entire building was evacuated as crews worked to put out the flames and rescue those injured. It was reportedly a difficult process because to live in the building, officials say residents have to be at least 62 years of age or have a disability.
"There was black smoke coming out of two windows and then once we got over to the other building, we saw flamed coming out, I mean there was flames dropping down and it was pretty intense," resident Lisa Conner said.
Fire officials say it’s unclear whether the victims lived in the apartment where the fire broke out. They were reportedly found in the hallway when the building was evacuated.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Those who know us, who are in the building, it’s traumatizing to have someone that you see every day… die like that so suddenly and so harshly. It’s just horrible,"Conner said.
The fire department says it extinguished the blaze within 70 minutes. According to officials, the fire was limited to the one apartment's contents and there was no structural damage from the fire.
Authorities say about 30 residents were displaced from the building, but those who live on the first through fourth floors have been allowed back in.
The cause of the fire is not yet clear.