MOUNT PLEASANT -- Ten people were displaced by a fire at Highland Park Apartments in Mount Pleasant early Tuesday morning, Feb. 26. One man had to be rescued from his window.
Crews were called to the 16-unit apartment building, located near Kinzie Avenue and Oakes Road, shortly after midnight. Upon arrival, they found heavy smoke and fire on the first floor.
"We were called out for a fire with heavy black smoke," said Chief Ed Lockhart, South Shore Fire Department.
Firefighters began an interior fire attack and performed a primary search. At that time, a Mount Pleasant police officer notified crews of a possible occupant seen though a window on the second floor. Crews placed a ladder and removed one occupant to safety.
"Had heavy, thick, black smoke in his unit. I don't know if there was a delay in him being able to be alerted by the alarms or if he's just overcome by the smoke and heat that were rising up from the ground floor unit," said Chief Lockhart.
The South Shore Fire Department provided emergency care to five occupants, all of whom refused transport to the hospital. A Racine city bus was called to the scene to provide a place of refuge due to the cold and snowy weather.
Red Cross volunteers were called in to provide shelter to those who were displaced.
One apartment was destroyed by the fire -- while an additional seven apartments received varying degrees of smoke and/or water damage.
Damage to the building was estimated at approximately $100,000. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
The property manager said the building passed its most recent fire inspection. Fire officials said any fire is a good reminder to have a fire evacuation plan in place.
"Make sure that your smoke alarms are working and functioning and that you have an exit plan and a strategy to get out of your house or apartment building, should the need arise -- because time is critical for people to evacuate the buildings," said Chief Lockhart.