UPDATE: 8 units damaged in Mishawaka apartment building fire

By: Tricia Harte; John Hanlon Email
By: Tricia Harte; John Hanlon Email

MISHAWAKA, Ind. A fire at a Mishawaka apartment building Wednesday left a number of residents with no choice but to spend the night elsewhere.

The blaze started shortly before 8 p.m. inside a second floor unit on Bercado Place at River Pointe Apartments, off Vistula Road.

Flames quickly spread from the kitchen area to the attic and could be seen shooting through the roof.

"We were able to get access to the attic from underneath initially," said Mishawaka Fire Department Battalion Chief Bryon Woodward. "When it broke through on the back side of the building, we hit it with an aerial truck from the roof."

Crews had the fire under control by 9 p.m.

Eight apartments were damaged, mostly by smoke or water. The remainder of the building, eight other units, was evacuated as a precaution.

The Red Cross was on scene to assist displaced residents.

Residents of the apartment where the fire originated were not home when the blaze began, according to Woodward.

Neighbors smelled smoke and made the initial 911 call.

No injuries were reported and the fire was contained to one building.

The cause is under investigation.

Thursday, some of the displaced tenants were temporarily allowed back inside to retrieve some of their belongings.

Gurmeet Kaur lived across the hall from the unit that started the blaze. She was able to pick up some clothes and books, but was not allowed to touch anything in her badly burned bedroom.

"The smoke is terrible, as soon as you walk in you can smell it," Kaur told her friend and translator Payal.

Neither Kaur's husband or two children were home when the fire started. She didn't learn about the damage until 10:00--at that point she was not allowed inside.

"She didn't exactly know how to react, she just broke down," said Payal, "there was nothing she could do but just cry."

According to Kaur the apartment complex offered to house her family Wednesday night and is working to find them a new unit to stay in.

Neighbors in adjacent buildings said fires at River Pointe are "contained and rare." The last time a fire erupted the firewalls stopped it from spreading.


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