50 Displaced After Massillon Fire

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MASSILLON, Ohio--A fire at an apartment building in Massillon forced about 100 people into the cold. Firefighters responded to a fire at the Lincoln Apartments on Lincoln Way East shortly before 7p.m. Saturday night. The Lincoln Apartments is home to about 100 people, who are mostly elderly and disabled.

The fire was contained to one unit on the fourth floor, but thick smoke quickly spread down the hall and into nearby apartments. JoAnne Cornell and her son live across the hall from the unit that was on fire. She credits her dachshund, Heidi, for alerting her to the fire, and for saving their lives. "(Heidi) went over to the door, and she started smelling around the door. She came over, grabbed my pant leg ... wanted me to get up, and I went over, and I started smelling smoke," Cornell said.

Helen Kalleker turned to a higher power when smoke started seeping into her apartment. "I just said a little prayer for everyone in the building to be safe, and the firemen, especially to be safe, because they were great. And, when I turned around, smoke was gone," Kalleker said.

This is the second time Diana Morgan has had to escape a fire in this apartment building since she has lived here. She is grateful to the police and firefighters who guided her and her dog safely out of the building. "They are the ones who took us down the steps. And, I thank God for all of them," Morgan said.

Resident Marsha Turner commended the actions of the first responders. "When we heard the bamming (sic) on the doors, the fire people were saying, 'Get out, get out. Fire! Fire!' So, we scrambled and got out in the cold," Turner added.

Firefighters say a candle that was knocked over started the fire. Three residents and seven police officers were treated for smoke inhalation. But, there were no other injuries.

Firewalls helped contain the fire to the one unit. But, about 20 residents are still not able to return to their apartments because of smoke and water damage.

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for five people who are not able to stay with relatives or friends.