2 Dead, 5 Injured in Gary Apartment Building Fire

Gary firefighter among five injured in the early morning blaze

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Those living in the building said it didn't have fire alarms. Residents said they only knew something was wrong because of the smell of smoke and said they had little time to get out. Michelle Relerford reports. (Published Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012)

    A 14-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman were killed and a firefighter was among five others injured in an early morning fire at a Gary, Ind., apartment building, officials said.

    Angel Harris and Bernice King were pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 1 a.m. after being pulled from a second-floor apartment. Chief Teresa Everett said they were trapped on the top floor of the building at 5805 Hemlock Avenue.

    Neighbors said King was a hardworking mother of six kids.

    "She was a good, fun person; beautiful," said tenant Natasha Harvey. "It just happened too fast."

    Those living in the building said it didn't have fire alarms. Residents said they only knew something was wrong because of the smell of smoke and said they had little time to get out.

    "Most of the tenants were the ones helping evacuate. Fire extinguishers were not working. Sprinklers were not working. It was a bad situation. Kids were jumping out the window on their own," said tenant Malcolm Cheeks.

    One Gary firefighter fell through the floor and was transported to an area hospital with a non-life threatening injury to his knee. Four other people were taken to Methodist Hospital.

    The cause of the fire, as well as the cause of Harris' and King's deaths, were not known by midday.