Person killed in Hammond high-rise fire

One person was killed in a high-rise apartment building fire early Thursday in Hammond, Indiana.

Residents told FOX 32 that alarms sounded and firefighters arrived quickly or it could have been so much worse.

The fatality was found in a ninth floor unit of the Renaissance Apartment building where the fire is believed to have started.

Hammond firefighters were called to the Renaissance Towers Building at 524 Michigan St. just before 3 a.m.


Flames were shooting from windows on the ninth and 10th floors at the time. Firefighters were forced to make some rescues where residents were trapped by the heavy smoke.

It wasn't until some of the smoke cleared that firefighters found the victim.

The coroner's office was called to the scene and confirmed one death from the fire.

Resident Rudolph Adams described his frightening ordeal trying to get out of the building. 

"Do you see the apartment up there, the top floor 10? I'm right across from there," Adams said. I was asleep and I heard the alarm go off. Bum, bum, bum! And I woke up and I go out there and I see nothing but smoke. And I'm scared. I can't see nothing, so I grab my mask, this mask here, and I put it on and I came down to the floor. I had to get up out of there. "

Adams said it was a spray paint mask he uses at work.

"Yeah this is good for smoke or anything," he said.

"When I came out there wasn't nobody in the hall nothing but black smoke and I couldn't see. I had to feel my way to come downstairs. I slipped and fell and cut myself getting up out of there, but I got out of there," Adams said.

He also said other residents told him they heard an explosion and believe an oxygen tank blew up.

As of 10 a.m., there was no official word from the fire department about the cause of the fire.

The Red Cross is assisting about 15 victims who firefighters are not allowing to return to their units.