Smoke quickly filled all three sections of the building on the first and second floors.

"At one point we saw them throw something flaming out of one of the windows," said resident Shawn McMillin.

"Somebody said 'there's a fire downstairs in our apartment' and he said 'get up get up, come on,' so I opened up my door, stream of smoke, man, I couldn't see," described resident Barbara Boatman. "All of a sudden I was like the smoke inhalation in my lungs it was so bad. You couldn't see the ground, it was so thick."

Firefighters found residents hanging out of upstairs windows gasping for breath and crying for rescue. One resident cut their hand breaking out a window trying to escape.

"They immediately instituted a ground ladder rescue operation," explained Captain Rita Reith of the Indianapolis Fire Department. "Took about eight ground ladders on this side of the building, two aerial ladders and two ground ladders on the other side of the building where they were able to rescue eight people out of those windows."

Off camera the landlord said that he plans to seal off a portion of the building where the fire was contained. He went on to say that he had empty apartments where he can resettle the residents displaced by the fire.

After the smoke settled the evacuees were loaded onto an IndyGo bust to be driven to an eastside motel to spend the night.

"You know what, it's just really tough if you lose a lot of stuff in a fire," said Boatman. "I've got pictures, I've got kids pictures and I don't wanna lose that. If i lose that, that's my life -- my life goes up in flames."

Fire investigators said the damage comes to about $100,000. What they don't know is why. Eleven people went to the hospital to get checked out after the fire. Ten were treated for smoke inhalation and one person was cut by broken glass. They are all expected to be okay.


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