AURORA, Ind. (FOX19) - Flames engulfed a building in downtown Aurora, Ind. Friday night, leaving as many as 15 residents without a place to stay, according to the Red Cross.
The fire, which broke out sometime shortly before 5:30 p.m., was massive, creating clouds of dark smoke that could be seen for miles around.
According to the owner, the building had several apartments on the top floor and a feed store on the first.
The feed business had been located in the building since 1939, he told FOX19 NOW.
Fire officials say they have not been able to go inside the apartments to survey the damage because the building is not yet stable.
Nichole Watson lives in the apartment building next door. She says she’d just asked her son to walk their dogs when the fire began.
“And he come running in and said the porch was on fire,” Watson recalled. “I ran out and me and a neighbor kina ran up at the same time and went to the porch, and there was a box on the porch on fire, and we heard some banging and we thought someone was in there.”
Watson says they tried to get in, but the porch was ‘completely engulfed’ and starting to cave, so they had to flee.
Fire officials say a dog was trapped inside when the fire broke out, but were unable to locate it.
Otherwise, officials reported no injuries.
“We feel very relieved,” Lt. Kevin Turner said. “Especially at this time of night when people are going to be home, dinner time. This could have been a big tragedy if someone was at home. Thankfully nobody was present in any of the apartments at the time of the fire.”
As for the residents displaced by the fire, the Red Cross says they are working to help them.