The search for suspects in a fire that scorched a Greencastle apartment building and threatened several lives early Monday morning has been launched, Greencastle Police officials said.
Flames erupted inside the front entrance of a multi-family home located at 107 S. College just after midnight, Greencastle Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Mace told the BannerGraphic. The home, owned by June Smith, is divided into four separate living units.
Greencastle Police Det. Randy Seipel said a resident of one of the apartments reported seeing two white males leaving the scene after the fire started. The first was said to be wearing blue jeans and the second had long, brown hair.
Seipel asked anyone with information about the fire to call the police department at 653-2925, the fire department at 653-3108 or the state fire marshal's tip line at 1-800-382-4628.
As for the fire itself, Mace said that when firefighters arrived at the home, just before 12:30 a.m. Monday, two people had climbed through an upstairs window and were standing on the home's roof.
Also, a man and his three children were trapped in their upstairs apartment by flames that blocked the stairway leading to the upper floor, Mace said.
Firefighters were able to confine the flames to the stairway and rescue the man and his three children unharmed. Mace said he thought the four were taken to the hospital for observation.
The two people on the roof were able to escape down a ladder safely, Mace said. He said there were about 14 people in the apartment building at the time of the fire, all of whom escaped and received assistance from the Putnam County unit of the American Red Cross.
Damage to the building was estimated at $30,000 and was confined mainly to the stairway.
As for the cause, investigators from the city police department, state fire marshal's office and the fire department spent the morning at the scene and are in the process of drafting a report.
If there is anything good about the fire, Mace said it was that it occurred just two blocks from the fire station, which allowed for a quick response from firefighters.
If it had occurred farther away, he said, the results could have been much worse.