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Jason Moore
Bloomington Fire Department Chief



Bloomington Fire Department Rescues Trapped Residents/Visitors at Apartment Fire

Bloomington, Ind. -  At 10:49 a.m. Friday, May 4, Monroe County Central Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a fire at 2679 East 7th Street. The fire started in the kitchen of apartment E, which was located directly below the stairs that provided access to the other floors. Several other 911 calls came in from occupants who were trapped and unable to escape the fire.  Engine 4, the newest engine in the fleet that was just placed into service on April 25, was the first to arrive, four minutes after receiving the dispatch call. With four person minimum staffing, the first arriving crew was able to perform rescues while simultaneously attacking the fire. A total of eight BFD units responded to the call with Bloomington Police Department and IU Health Ambulance Service.

Three civilians were rescued, and seven people jumped from their balconies to escape the fire.  Two maintenance technicians, employed at the apartment complex, helped students escape the fire and entered the building notifying everyone to get out. Four pets were also successfully rescued by BFD firefighters.

One of those who jumped to safety was treated on scene for an arm injury and two others were evaluated for smoke inhalation. None of the victims was seriously injured enough to warrant hospital transport.  

The fire was extinguished within 14 minutes after the initial 911 call came in.  

Two of the 11 apartments had significant fire damage; however, Indiana University representatives helped re-house all 32 occupants and their guests who were identified as IU students or visitors of IU students.  

BFD immediately activated a newly established IU protocol that alerts an on-call dean to significant issues relating to students. IU representatives immediately responded and arrived on scene to assist students before the notifications could be completed.

After investigating the fire, preliminary reports indicate that the fire was caused by unattended cooking, and open doors were the primary path for the rapid fire progression. BFD reminds the public to close their doors when they sleep and if they encounter fire conditions. The apartments with closed doors had only minor smoke damage.

Chief Moore issued the following statement: “We are extremely proud of the efforts of the firefighters who responded to this emergency. Their dedication, courage, and teamwork are a credit to the firefighting profession and to the community we are proud to serve. Gold shift, led by Battalion Chief Roger Kerr II, has successfully rescued five of our seven civilian saves within my two years as Fire Chief. This can be directly attributed to the hard work and training of our firefighters who have received major improvements in equipment and technology.  Today is the epitome of why we exist. IU Commencement Weekend could have started with a tragic loss of life. However, thanks to our public safety team and great partnership with Indiana University, these students and their guests will get to celebrate their graduation.”