According to the Indianapolis Fire Department, several units in an east side apartment complex did not have working smoke detectors when a fire broke out on Wednesday.

Firefighters arrived at the Pangea Courts Apartment complex around 9:30 a.m. and found thick smoke billowing from the basement of the building, IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith said.

A woman told firefighters the smoke was so bad she had to drag her children down the hall to get them out of the building. Another child jumped from a second story window to escape the fire, according to the IFD.

Nathaniel Poindexter, a 29-year-old resident nearby, said sirens from dozens of fire engines and ambulances brought his attention to the scene. He then saw several people climbing through the windows onto the fire truck ladders. Doctors began moving people onto stretchers, including a woman holding a baby to her chest, he said.

“They kept kicking people out,” he said.

Using ladders, crews helped rescue more than 20 people, including children, although a fire official said no one was seriously injured.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about 20 minutes. Part of the building with 12 apartments suffered most of the damage, Reith said. The area appeared black scorched by fire.

Twelve units on the opposite side of the building reported no damage.

The fire department dispatched 21 units to the scene and was supported by 14 EMS units from Indianapolis and two EMS units from Beech Grove.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation as of Wednesday evening, according to firefighters.

IFD: some fire alarms had been removed from the mounting rings

Mounting rings for the fire alarms were in place inside the apartments, but the alarms had been removed, according to a press release issued Wednesday evening by the fire department.

Two apartments in the building were occupied by four hearing-impaired people. None of the apartments had alarms or suitable bed shakers to alert the hearing impaired to a fire, according to the IFD.

Pangea Courts Apartments management did not immediately return a request for comment ahead of this story’s publication.

The IFD’s Fire and Life Safety Division will monitor apartment management and work with residents to ensure the proper installation of smoke detectors in the future, according to the fire department.

Indianapolis Fire Department firefighters rescued several people, including children, from a fire at the Pangea Courts apartment complex at 4431 Linwood Court on the east side of the city on March 30, 2022.

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Residents told IFD they were waiting to evacuate

A woman in the apartment where the fire started told investigators she woke up in the burning room. The woman left the apartment, closed the door behind her and reported the fire to the rental office, according to the IFD.

Residents of the building said they heard smoke alarms but decided to wait before evacuating, according to fire department investigators, who were told smoke alarms were going “all the time” in the building. ‘building.

As the building filled with thick smoke and fire, people tried to leave but were unable to get out inside the building, according to firefighters.

Reith said no one was seriously injured by the fire, although 13 people, including 10 children, were taken to hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation. One person taken to hospital reported minor injuries.

Doctors treated 14 people at the scene. Additionally, five cats were rescued unharmed from the blaze, according to the IFD.

IFD is at the scene of a fire causing injuries at the Pangea Courts Apartments, 4431 Linwood Court, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Indianapolis.

“IFD would like to remind residents never to ignore a sounding smoke alarm,” the fire department’s press release reads. “Evacuate the building until you are sure there is no threat of smoke or fire.”

Smoke alarms, including those specifically for the hearing impaired, can be requested online from IFD.

Smoke detectors are free for residents in need in the IFD district, Reith said.

Visit https://ifdquartermaster.wufoo.com/forms/q1no3c4z1hfr1xk/ to request a smoke detector from IFD.