CUMBERLAND, Ind. – Four officers and one woman were hospitalized this morning after a fire broke out inside an apartment in Cumberland.
Officers with the Cumberland Police Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrived at Cumberland Manor Apartments around 2:30 a.m. and they saw a large fire coming from one of the apartment buildings.
The officers began banging on doors to get residents out of their apartments to safety.
A Cumberland officer and an IMPD officer entered an upstairs apartment to wake up and remove the occupants. Once inside, the IMPD officer grabbed a sleeping 7-year-old boy from the living room and quickly took that child outside and away from the apartment to safety.
The Cumberland officer continued toward the back of the burning apartment and found a man in a back bedroom. The officer and the man became trapped by the fire, but thankfully they both escaped from a second story window. The man jumped from the window, and the officer exited using a ladder.
Two other IMPD officers also ran into another apartment to evacuate the occupants inside. The officers got them to safety and saved their lives.
Fire crews discovered the fire was coming from the kitchen of a unit on the second story.
Fire crews rescued several people from the apartment. A 16-year-old girl waiting on the ledge of her bedroom window, and firefighters rescued her with a ladder.
“She said she sat on the ledge she could hear the firetrucks coming and she waited until they got there,” said IFD Batallion Chief Rita Reith. “They threw a ladder up to the widow and were able to get her down.”
The teen’s 40-year old mother was unable to get out of the apartment on her own. Firefighters found her, brought her outside and began administering CPR to her. Medics transported her to the hospital. She was last listed in critical condition due to smoke inhalation.
A total of four officers (3 IMPD officers, 1 Cumberland officer) were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation, but they were released several hours later.
Several residents had returned to their apartment units several hours after the fire. They describe the scary, tense moments when they realized there was a fire in their building and they needed to get out.
Unique Oliver and Lisa North said a firefighter banged on their door, but they didn’t wake up until the rescuer broke their door down.
“As I ran in there, they’re like get your stuff, get out, get out,” Oliver said. “So I had to get my kids and get everybody around and out the door.”
“All I saw was the lights and I saw smoke and whatever,” North recalled. “So I just grabbed the kids and I just ran out.”
“People jumping out the window, people crying, it was just an emotional situation,” said Kellar Socks. “I jumped down the stairs. I jumped down the first flight and the second flight. So I was literally out of there in maybe three minutes.”
Investigators say the initial 911 call came from a couple who were only awake because their flight had been delayed and they had returned home to their apartment from the airport.
IFD said a family’s dog ran away during the fire. They’re looking for Jax, a beagle/pit bull mix. Anyone with information about his whereabouts can call 317-993-6370.
Investigators determined the cause of the fire was unattended food in a cooking pan and non-functioning smoke detectors in one apartment. The total amount of damage has not yet been determined, however, the major extent of the damage is confined to one section of apartments.
Nine people are displaced.
Cumberland Police and IMPD have scheduled a 9:00 a.m. Wednesday news conference at Cumberland Town Hall to address the fire.