No injuries reported in Hobart, Portage fires
By James D. Wolf Post-Tribune correspondent December 25, 2012 8:16PM
Firefighters get a fire at Park Place Apartments in Portage under control on Tuesday. | photo provided
PORTAGE — A Christmas afternoon fire displaced the residents of six units in a building at Park Place Apartments, and on Christmas Eve, a fire meant a Hobart family needed to find a place to stay.
No one was hurt in either fire, and the Portage residents should be able to return to their apartments on Wednesday after maintenance staff assesses the damage.
Portage Fire Department officials said they’re investigating the cause, but according to residents and others on the scene, the fire began as a cooking fire in a third-story apartment.
“It’s burnt very well,” maintenance man John Kell said about the apartment.
The apartment is next to the main power line, so the apartment complex shut off electricity and heat and will assess the damage in the daylight and get an electrician in, Kell said. The fire began about 4 p.m. and went into the wall, Assistant Fire Chief Dan Kodicek said.
In Hobart, the firefighters were dispatched to a chimney fire in the 3300 block of 38th Place about 5 p.m. Assistant Fire Chief Brian Kerr said that the Red Cross was called to help the family, and the official cause of the fire is under investigation.
Burns Harbor and Ogden Dunes assisted the Portage Fire Department with the Park Place fire, north of Woodland Park.
Resident David Montgomery, who lived on the opposite side of the apartment building from the fire, said he saw no smoke or anything when someone alerted him
“(I) wouldn’t have even known there was a problem,” Montgomery said.
He’d just gotten home from work and “I was going to have a cocktail and watch TV, and I got booted out,” he said.
He planned to stay at his mother’s for the night.
This is the second fire in the building in about two to three months, he said.
Kathy Hopper said her family had finished eating dinner, and her kids were gathering up their presents and coats when they heard about the fire.
Although she could stay with her daughter, Hopper hoped to be able to stay overnight in her unheated apartment without electricity.
She said her work clothes were there, and she was concerned for her pet rabbit, which couldn’t go to the daughter’s because of the daughter’s cats.