One person found dead after apartment fire near Purdue

Aerial view from Chopper 13 HD
Published: .
Updated: .
Firefighters are still looking for the cause of an apartment fire that left one person dead and several Purdue students displaced Thursday morning.

The fire broke out in the Benchmark complex on South River Road shortly after 5:00 am. Many students say they woke up to people shouting and pounding on doors.

Andrea Doll said she didn't know how bad it was until she got outside.

"You could see the flames roaring out the top and then the porch dropping off the back. That's when it hit home really hard," Doll said.

Fire officials say the fire began at the south end of the 32-unit building, destroying or heavily damaging eight units.

Most students didn't know that anyone had died until later.

Diamond Setterberg, staying with a friend, said, "We were all standing outside. We didn't know there was anyone still in the building."

A student who lived in one of the upper units destroyed said it was his friend who died.  He said his friend was in town visiting for the Purdue Grand Prix.

He said there were seven people in the unit.  They thought everyone was out.  When they realized his friend was still inside they tried to go back but the smoke and fire were too intense.

Eyewitness News is waiting for the coroner to release the victim's name. 

While the complex is privately owned, most of the occupants are Purdue students.  The university's dean of housing is working with students displaced to find temporary housing.