Fire ravages stately Southport apartment house

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Fire crews worked to save a large, turn-of-the-century home near Southport and Madison Friday morning. A firefighter and a civilian required hospitalization for fire-related injuries.

Crews were called to the 100 block of South Street just before 3:00 a.m. and struggled to gain control of the fire inside the three-story apartment house. Flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived, and it took over two hours to get the fire under control.

They called it a stubborn fire because the home had been divided into five apartments. Fire Department spokesman Lt. Larry Tracy said all of those apartments were occupied at the time of the fire. 

All of the residents were able to get out, and none were seriously injured. One was taken to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

"Just pitiful. I just can't see it. Lost everything. At least my animals [are] safe," said Jeff Ellis, fire victim.

Victims Assistance is working on temporary shelter for the other four.

"Water supply was not an issue," Tracy said, but firefighters encountered problems fighting the fire because the original home had been divided into apartments.

One firefighter had to be taken to IU Health-Methodist for heat exhaustion.

The building is considered a total loss. Damage is estimated at $400,000.