TERRE Haute, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Terre Haute firefighters were called to the scene of a “multi-occupancy apartment fire” Sunday morning shortly before 7:00 a.m.

Seven apartments within the two-story building were showing heavy smoke and flames upon the arrival of crews.

Terre Haute Fire Chief Bill Berry confirmed one occupant was visible on the roof, in the front of the building. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue the occupant from the roof with no injuries to the occupant.

Berry said the call came shortly before crews were switching over shifts– and both crews responded to the scene.

“The previous shift was there with the oncoming shift, and all of those firefighters responded from the closest fire house, which is just a great thing. I’m proud to hear that from our department,” he said. “It was very instrumental because half the crew took care of the rescue of the person off the roof and hitting the fire attack at the same time.”  

While fighting the fire from inside of the building, Berry said that one firefighter fell through the second story floor. A brief mayday was initiated and other firefighters on scene were able to pull that firefighter back up through the roof.

“Firefighters responded to his area and helped pull him out of that hole and get him out of the house to safety,” Berry said. “He wasn’t hurt bad.”

The injured firefighter was transported to Terre Haute Regional Hospital for evaluation.

Berry said that the fire was controlled within the first hour and crews were on scene as of 11:30 a.m. The Red Cross was on hand to help residents displaced by the fire.

Cadaver dogs were called in due to the ‘hoarder-type’ of conditions in half of the structure and the number of occupants known to live in the apartment. Berry confirmed that this was just for precaution.

The fire is under investigation.

Berry thanked the work of all first responders who assisted.

“The personnel that stayed afterwards to help the oncoming shift, that’s just the commitment to the firefighters on this job,” he said. “We do it with minimum staffing all the time. To have extra hands, and extra feet on the ground, that was important today.”