Two young children and their mother were injured when their downtown apartment caught fire this afternoon. Two adults and three children were home when their upstairs apartment caught fire. The fire displaced a total of 12 people that live in the apartment building.
Fire dispatchers received several calls at 3:08 p.m. that an apartment at 2921 Elm Ave. (U.S. 95/Eastern Avenue) was on fire. When firefighters arrived, thick white smoke covered the entire building and surrounding streets making visibility almost nil. Firefighters found one of two upstairs apartments fully involved with fire in the two-story wood frame/stucco apartment building with four units. It took firefighters nine minutes to bring the fire under control.
In the meantime, several reports from bystanders and firefighters indicated that several people were hurt. A total of five ambulances were dispatched to the scene.
An eleven- year-old girl and 13- month-old boy were taken to the hospital for burns. Their father, who was also in the apartment, went to the hospital in the same ambulance; he was not injured.
A woman was also taken to the hospital for a sprained ankle after jumping from an upstairs window.
An eight-year-old son was not home, but walking home from school when the fire started. He saw the fire equipment pulling up in front of his home. He is staying with relatives tonight.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire investigators believe the fire started in a storage closet which is just outside the front door.
The fire completely gutted the apartment. The apartment next door also had minor fire damage. That apartment is vacant. Two downstairs apartments had minor water damage. Six people live in the two apartments downstairs. Damage was estimated at $50,000.
The two parents, eleven-year-old girl, 13-month-old boy and a one-month-old girl were home when the fire started. The family smelled something burning, but could not find the source. When the mother and 11-year-old girl opened the front door, fire was coming out the door of the storage closet. The mother ran back toward the bedroom to alert her husband and get the infant. The 11-year-old grabbed the 13-month-old infant and ran past the closet down the stairs to the sidewalk. In the process, she was burned on the arms and the toddler had burns on his legs. Both were taken to the hospital for burns.
When they ran out the front door, they left the door open which permitted winds to push the fire into the apartment which quickly spread. It trapped the two parents and infant upstairs in the bedroom. They went to a window in the front bedroom and screamed for help. Neighbors ran to their aid. The parents dropped the infant to people below who caught her; she was not injured. Both of the parents then jumped. The husband was not injured, but his wife hurt her ankle and was transported to the hospital.
A total of three family members were injured - two with burns and one with a sprain. Two other children were not injured along with their father. One pet dog died in the fire.
The American Red Cross is providing assistance to a total of twelve people who live in the building.