Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory officials say five families have been left homeless following a fire that broke out at in the basement apartment of a multi-family residence at 423 E. Arthur St., Warsaw.
According to Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Fire Chief Mike Brubaker, the apartment building is a total loss. Though firefighters do not yet know how the fire began, Brubaker stated that the fire began in a living room in a basement apartment. A total of five apartments were located within the building.
At about 9 p.m. Friday, the fire was reported by a resident of the apartment building. Winona Lake Fire Department was called shortly for a full assist after WWFT fire fighters arrived on scene. About 30 minutes later, Plain Township/Leesburg Fire Department was called in for manpower and a tanker from Pierceton Fire Department was also requested. Due to the need for additional fire hydrants, the north-south Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks were shut down.
The owners of the building, Chad and Annie Zartman, said it was insured for $200,000. Though the building was covered, the residents in the building lost everything to the blaze and none had rental insurance.
The American Red Cross has been called to help four of the families displaced by the fire and to set up a canteen for about 50 fire fighters who remain on scene. The one family not helped opted out of care from the Red Cross.
The cause of the fire was undetermined, but an electrical malfunction could not be ruled out.