13 injured in fire at Littleton senior housing apartment building

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LITTLETON, Colo. -- A fire at a senior housing apartment building early Saturday was being called a mass casualty incident due to the number of patients, according to South Metro Fire Rescue.

Thirteen people were taken to the hospital. Three were in serious condition and 10 were in stable condition at mid-morning Saturday.

South Metro Fire said most of the injuries were related to smoke inhalation.

"Oh, the smoke was thick, thick, thick. You could not see. People were screaming," said Jane, a resident in the community. "I heard a lady screaming, 'I can't see' and I said, 'Come to the sound of my voice.' It was black."

One person was hurt after jumping from a second floor balcony. Another person was rescued by ladder from a second floor balcony.

South Metro Fire Rescue classified the fire a 'mass casualty incident,' meaning more than five people were injured. "That just gets us a lot of ambulances and a lot of firefighters to be here fast to be able to handle that medical component aside from the fire fight that's going on," said a spokesperson with South Metro Fire.

The fire was in contained to one first-floor unit at the Windermere at 5829 South Datura Street in Littleton. The first 911 calls about the fire came at 5:19 a.m.

Fire at a senior housing apartment building in Littleton, Colorado

The fire was out Saturday morning but there was heavy smoke in the building. Firefighters were ventilating smoke before residents could be allowed back inside their apartments.

This isn't the first time a fire broke out at the complex; just over two years ago both residents and emergency personnel faced the same situation.

"We had another large fire - something very similar - fire broke out in a portion of the retirement home," said Andrea Carlson with the American Red Cross. "We ended up helping with sheltering and additional needs for about three or four weeks."

Residents who were evacuated were staying nearby at 5804 South Datura Street, the same place people forced from their homes were taken following the previous fire.

South Metro Fire said there were about 100 first responders on scene from several agencies.

There was a fire in the same complex in April 2016. The fire burned in three units on the fourth floor. Four residents had minor injuries in that incident. About 100 people had to be evacuated.

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