EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Evansville Fire Department responded to a fire at Leisure Living Senior Assisted Living Facility on the west side of Evansville at around 6:00 p.m. Friday evening.
Smoke from the fire could be seen for blocks. Several units from the Evansville Fire Department responded to the fire which has now been extinguished.
Vanderburgh County Major Jason Ashworth said the fire was started by a burning cigarette which got into some landscaping. It ran up the side of the building and into the attic.
Although there were no injuries, he said several people were displaced as a result of several units being damaged and two pets died in the fire.
Major Ashworth said that multiple units across several townships were sent out due to the level of concern for these senior residents.
There were also a lot of concerned family members flocking to the scene earlier, many of them thankful that some good samaritans sprang into action.
“I saw large clouds of black smoke. I went down to see what was going on to see if I could help. When I got down to the end of the building, there were some folks that were apparently visiting their Mom who lived in the apartment that was on fire and helping her out. Then, going door to door to help evacuate people,” said Leisure Living resident John Lopez.
Others also sprang into action including those at a nearby business.
“People at Rural King next door, here, saw the fire and a gentleman ran over and started beating on the doors letting the other residents know. So that guy, he really did a lot of good and helped a lot of people get out in time,” said Major Ashworth.
Many showed up tonight out of concern for friends and family including a former resident who had just handed in her keys earlier today.
“It gave me goosebumps when I heard because right away I was worried about Carl, and because there’s so many other people that live here that I know. I was very close to all the tenants,” said Sue Dills.