Smoke from a Sunday-morning blaze sent many Baldwin Creek Apartment residents scrambling to their balconies to be rescued after a fire began in the south end of the building, fire officials said.
When Fort Wayne firefighters arrived about 8 a.m., smoke and fire were visible on the roof of the two-story building, according to fire department spokeswoman Stacey Fleming.
About 40 residents were evacuated from Building F, at 1920 Hobson Road, Fleming said.
All 24 units are believed to be damaged by the fire, several extensively, she said.
One resident was taken to a hospital for smoke-related illness, but is listed in good condition, Fleming said.
Steve “Tiny” Michaels, local disc jockey and owner of Tiny Bubbles Bubble Parties, which is a regular part of Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival and other local events, moved into the second floor of Building F Saturday.
“Fortunately we were at the other end of the hall,” he said.
Michaels was home with his daughters, Amanda Wyatt and Laura Wyatt and Amanda’s boyfriend, Ryan Brown.
“The room started filling up with smoke and we heard a few screams, then the alarms went off.”
The door to his apartment was not hot and when he opened it there was smoke and soot throughout hallway.
“Fortunately the firefighters did a great job getting everyone off the balcony,” said Michaels, adding he couldn’t get out of the building otherwise.
For now, Michaels is staying in a hotel. His apartment was blackened but he thinks, “most of our stuff is going to be OK.”
“There are some people who lost most if not all of their belongings,” he said. “So, overall, we were pretty lucky. I am just glad we are all right and everything is fine, we are happy and healthy. It could have been a whole lot worse.”
The fire was still under investigation.
“From what it looks like there is heavy smoke damage,” Fleming said. “We have some residents that will be displaced.”
Fleming said early reports show that the fire began in the south end of the building, and extended into the attic area. Fire crews ventilated the roof and were able to have the fire under control by about 8:25 a.m.
The apartment building sustained heavy fire, water and smoke damage, according to a report from the fire department. The Red Cross responded to assist displaced residents, Fleming said.
Ryan DuVall of The Journal Gazette contributed to this report.