Three people jump to safety from fourth floor in apartment building fires
by Lori Caldwell email@example.com August 3, 2012 6:18PM
Updated: August 3, 2012 11:46PM
GARY — As firefighters arrived at the Glen Park apartment building Friday, one woman was hanging out of her fourth-floor window amid smoke and flames, screaming for help.
Before rescue teams could respond, she and two other people chose to jump to safety.
All three, two women and a young man, were taken to area hospitals for treatment, but at least one fire victim was expected to be airlifted to a Chicago hospital for treatment. Gary spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington said their names and conditions were not immediately available.
At least one firefighter was treated for heat and smoke exposure at the scene.
Smoke continued to billow from the west side of the fourth floor as firefighters searched the brick-and-stucco Tudor-style building, fearing one more person was still inside. No one was found.
Every piece of Gary’s worn, aging firefighting equipment responded to 713 W. 35th Ave. within minutes of the first call for help at about 2:55 p.m.
Battalion Chief James Delgado joined his crew in a search for fire victims on the second and third floors.
Lake Station and Merrillville firefighters provided mutual aid to Gary by staffing empty stations in Midtown and Glen Park while the bulk of Gary’s manpower battled the blaze.
No cause had been determined at the scene, but Gary police arson investigator Sgt. Mark Salazar was summoned.
Fire Investigator Mark Cohill examined evidence and spoke to potential witnesses.
The city has not sought the assistance from the Indiana Fire Marshal.
Friday’s fire came just nine days after a fatal arson in Miller where a mother and her 14-year-old daughter died.
At a news conference Thursday to announce murder and arson charges against two Lake Station men, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the city is trying to obtain additional equipment.
In an interview last month, Fire Chief Teresa Everett said she hoped to have more than the usual three or four engines operational before cold weather arrives.