16 apartment units destroyed or damaged in early morning fire - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Indianapolis man jumps barbed-wire fence to warn residents of fire

Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS -

Fire investigators are working to determine if fireworks landing on a roof caused a massive apartment fire in Indianapolis early Friday morning.

The blaze caused half a million dollars in damage and left 43 residents without a place to live.

The fire broke out at around 1:45 am at the Woodridge Apartments near 71st and Michigan. Residents talked about one man they describe as a "super hero" who helped rescue people from the burning building.

The apartment complex lit up like an inferno, igniting faster than firefighters could get a handle on it. It happened while dozens of people slept.

"All of a sudden I heard someone pounding on my door," said resident Thelma Davis.

Before the fire engines arrived and amid the chaos, there was one man who came to the rescue.

"I just seen a red glow and a lot of smoke," said Joseph Crockett. He lives nearby and noticed trouble.

Crockett climbed over a barbed wire fence to get to the burning building. He hurt his arm, but possibly saved dozens of lives.

"Ran in the building and started kicking and banging on everyone's door. Told them to get out of the house; the house is one fire! Basically got back on the phone and called 911 again to make sure they was on their way," he said.

"I think it was wonderful. He lived over across the building over in another complex and he just came over, hopped the fence, he scratched his arm and everyone I think is safe. The children are safe," said Davis.

In all, 16 apartment units were destroyed or damaged. Those are homes to more than 40 people.

Although smoke detectors were working, those here credit the efforts of one man for their survival.

"He is a super hero," said Davis.

"I just feel like I just did something right. I know what people feel like when they know they just did this 'cause it was the right thing," said Crockett.

The only injury in this fire was from an IFD firefighter, who suffered a back injury.

First responders are now trying to find a place for the families affected to stay. Meantime, investigators continue to look for a cause of the flames.  Damage is estimated at $500,000.

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