Three dozen residents of the Timber Creek condos on City Center Drive have been displaced after a fire caused extensive damage the morning of April 17, and a local organization is collecting donations to help meet immediate needs of those most affected.
The Carmel Fire Dept. is still investigating the cause, but CFD spokesman Tim Griffin said the blaze was “fully involved” and had reached multiple units by the time firefighters arrived after 5 a.m. Crews from the Westfield and Noblesville fire departments also responded.
“Heavy winds that we had in the morning (were) pushing that fire across the top,” Griffin said. “They did a really good job of stopping that before it spread through the entire building.”
Firefighters helped evacuate the building, and no residents or responders were injured. A couple of pets did not survive, Griffin said, and at least one pet was reunited with its owner after the fire was out.
HOA President Andrew White said a resident named George Vesper, who lived above the unit where the fire started, helped evacuate the building.
“Many of the affected residents were commenting that had it not been for George, people could have possibly lost their lives,” White said.
Cyndie Estes, vice president of the Timber Creek HOA, said she was in bed when another resident alerted her of the fire, which did not reach her condo.
“I raced out to see what I could do for people,” Estes said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to come back in and get my keys and open the clubhouse for everybody,’ which was a safe haven.”
The clubhouse became the command center for the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Hamilton County Emergency Management, groups that worked throughout the day to assist those displaced by the fire. By evening, every resident had somewhere to go, Estes said.
Other groups and individuals also provided assistance on-site, including Panera Bread, which provided coffee and bagels, and Kevin “Woody” Rider, a city councilor and mayoral candidate who brought pizza. Timber Creek residents provided items – such as trail mix and Styrofoam cups – to support each other throughout the day.
“When we had a need, we shouted it out,” Estes said, “and somebody appeared with it.”
Hamilton County Emergency Management coordinated support services on site, collecting information from affected residents and offering support, such as locating insulin and providing phone charges, blankets and dog treats.
“HCEM also worked with the Carmel Fire Dept. to ensure all residents had a place to stay that night,” said Shane Booker, HECM executive director.
Hamilton County Community Organizations Active in Disaster, a network of area nonprofits, pantries and free clinics, is working with Hamilton County Emergency Management to continue supporting the displaced Timber Creek residents. Hamilton County COAD is accepting financial donations, which will be overseen by the Good Samaritan Network, at gsnlive.org. Checks may be mailed to the Good Samaritan Network with “COAD Disaster Campaign” in the memo line.
Hamilton County COAD is providing financial assistance to 19 displaced residents, as many of them did not have insurance on the items inside their condos, according to Nancy Chance, director of the Good Samaritan Network. Funds will be used to meet short-term needs, such as items for work. Chance said the nonprofit will continue to work with the displaced residents to connect them with a variety of resources in the county.