On Thursday, January 5, 2018 at approximately 3:30 AM the Michigan City Fire Department along with Coolspring Township Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at 401 Johnson Road in Trail Creek IN. Upon arrival, firefighters found a two story business (Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 75) with heavy fire coming from the structure. Michigan City Engine 4 and Tower One arrived on scene first with Coolspring arriving seconds after. Units arriving were notified that a victim was still upstairs in the apartment above the lodge. Engine company 4 crew attempted to enter through east end of the building. Tower One attempted to ladder the building and gain access to the victim. Driver Operator Andrew Belue and Coolspring Firefighter Mike Lusco were able to gain access through a second story window and rescue the victim. There were two occupants in the above apartment and the first occupant was able to escape through a second story window prior to arrival. He was able to advise responding units that a second victim was still in the apartment. The rescued victim is in critical condition and being treated at an area hospital. Along with the victim one Coolspring Firefighter is also being treated for injuries sustained from slipping on the icy conditions outside of the fire.
Thanks to the quick actions of LaPorte County 911 Dispatch they quickly realized the severity of the incident and called for Mutual Aid without being requested by Coolspring. Chief Mick Pawlik gave credit to 911 for their quick actions that helped play a pivotal role in the rescue of the second victim.
Along with severe weather conditions and the lack of fire hydrants in the area the water supply had to be shuttled in by tankers which made attacking the fire interior very difficult. Michigan City Fire Battalion Chief Howard Fuller quickly gave the all clear to evacuate and fight the fire from the outside. This fire is considered to be a total loss. D&M Excavating is on scene assisting with making the structure safe so Fire Investigators can gain access to investigate the cause.
On scene assisting Michigan City Fire Department and Coolspring Fire Department was Michiana Fire Department, Springfield Fire Department, Michigan City Police Department, LaPorte County EMS, LaPorte County Sheriff, NIPSCO, Trail Creek Police and Street Department.
Fore more information, please contact Tony Drzewiecki, Michigan City Fire Department Public Information Officer, at (219) 873-1443.