An overnight fire ripped through downtown Elkhart in the area of Division and State streets, burning three buildings and sending four people to the hospital.
In total, 4 people suffered injuries. Three were rescued from the tri-complex apartment with serious injuries and were flown by helicopter to a Fort Wayne hospital. Elkhart firefighters say the victims were treated for injuries relating to smoke inhalation and burns.
An Elkhart firefighter suffered injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
Crews were called to the scene at just before 2 a.m. It was a 3-alarm fire bringing in crews from two other nearby fire departments besides Elkhart’s.
Elkhart Assistant Fire Chief Shaun Edgerton says investigators believe the fire started at what used to be the Tony’s Shoe Store. It then quickly spread to the Lifeline-Youth for Christ Center and an apartment triplex, despite the main fire department being 2 blocks away.
Edgerton said that by the time his crew arrived, the Lifeline-Youth center was completely engulfed, with the fire already reaching the roof, causing the building to collapse. He believes the center and old shoe shop will both be complete losses.
The apartment triplex had three units. Families stayed in both the front and back unit of the complex.
The cause of the fire remains unknown right now.
Police have also blocked off this section of town.