Tenants worried about safety after repeated fires

NOW: Tenants worried about safety after repeated fires

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Last Tuesday night, the South Bend Fire Department were called to a reported fire inside of a home at Prosper Apartments, previously known as Park Jefferson Apartments. After it went out, they were called in two more times to put out rekindling flames.

Only 5 days later, on Sunday afternoon at around 2 PM, another report of a fire was made at the same exact apartment complex.

“We have had fires and incidents there over the years,” South Bend Fire Department Public Information Officer Ryan Takacs said. “It’s the second time we’ve been out there this week within a few days so, it happens though I mean it’s emergencies happen, fires happen.”

One tenant who’s lived at prosper for 2 years, living right across the street from where the fire took place on Sunday said he saw it all happen.

“I was outside having a cigarette and I look over and see a little bit of smoke coming out of someone’s apartment, I thought they’ve you know burnt their breakfast or something like that. I pull my phone out to take a video and by the time I pull my phone back out I see huge clouds of smoke pouring out of there,” Prosper tenant Michael Quinlan said.

Michael said he went over to the building to help when he noticed a man who lives across the hall from the engulfed home calling to help him and his German Shepard dog, Bella.

“I had to help. Every time I’m in a situation like that I don’t think I just act. When the adrenaline was pumping the fear and panic was directed into doing as much as I can to help,” Quinlan said.

The neighbor dropped Bella down to him, and after jumped off the patio into the bushes below.

“Unfortunately, the dog got scared with the fire and the sirens and all the people swarmed out of my arms and took off towards the river park district,” Quinlan said.

In total, 9 fires have occurred at the complex this year, and Michael said he fears for his safety.

“It’s not anything new or a surprise to me, but it was the first one I personally witnessed. Now, after witnessing it having to see that poor dog being dropped in the air with smoke pouring behind her, my safety concerns are through the roof,” Quinlan said.

Michael said while Prosper Apartment staff are always accommodating, there’s lots of things that can be done to help prevent fires and damage, such as adding fire walls in-between all homes, more smoke detectors, and a closer eye on rodent infestations since there’s been a reoccurring issue with them chewing through electrical wires.

Meanwhile, South Bend Fire Departments Public Information Officer said it’s all a matter being aware of your surroundings, because not all the fires here are caused by what residents are suspecting.

“You just have to do things that you can to prevent those fires from occurring if you can,” Takacs said. “The Majority of the fires that we have had over the years out here have been preventable emergencies and fires so things like cooking, or cigarette buds or smoking.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, and so far, there are no known injuries.

German Shepard Bella is still not found. She is described as a 2-year-old mix wearing a pink collar and usually responds if you call her name. If you see Bella. You’re asked to reach out to the Prosper Apartment Complex to return her to her owner.

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