FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A fire broke out at a hotel along Lima Road Tuesday morning due to an electrical issue.
Crews were called some time after 8 a.m. to the Hawthorn Suites hotel located on Lima Road between Coliseum and I-69. This hotel is an extended stay, with many residents living there for years.
The fire impacted 22 residents. Some are now left without food, shelter, or both.
Lance Perlich has lived at the extended stay hotel for the past four years and woke up to firefighters banging on his door to evacuate. After seeing the smoke, he rounded up his five cats, grabbed his bicycle he uses for transportation and was able to make it out of his home alive.
“Life has gotten me to the point where I am expecting to lose everything so it really didn’t hit me hard. I’m just like, oh it’s another day on earth, what are you going to do?” Perlich said. “So I was pretty prepared for it. I look at everything in life like an amputation you just do the best you can with it. It doesn’t matter what happened or your opinion of it.”
According to the Fort Wayne Fire Deputy Chief Adam O’Connor, with buildings like the one at the extended stay, flames usually move rapidly through the building. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control around 9:30 a.m.-and evacuated everyone, including pets, without any casualties or injuries.
With so many people out on the street, the Red Cross was deployed to provide essentials such as food and shelter, as well as health and mental health services to help them get back on their feet.
“You know this is a hotel, but for some of these people this was their home. Some folks lost everything and now they lost where they live,” said LaMar Holliday, regional communication director for the Red Cross. “One thing about the American Red Cross is that when we have disasters like this, this is where we step in and provide that shelter and provide that assistances.”
Holliday added that these people are probably at their worst moment in life after losing everything, and the Red Cross is here to help them get back on the road of recovery.
The building will likely have to be demolished, officials said.