One person dies in fire near Purdue’s campus

Crews battle S. River Road apartment fire.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – One person is dead after an early morning fire near Purdue’s campus. Smoke alarms were still going off inside an apartment building on South River Road near Purdue’s campus Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters responded around five o’clock Thursday morning to find the building engulfed in flames.

“We heard the sirens going outside. It was really loud but I didn’t know what was going on,” Purdue student Jake Burns said.

“We were being evacuated by a police officer because the apartment was on fire,” Matt Price said.

Price lives in the building that caught fire. He said all they could do was watch.

“We were just sitting here helpless just watching it get closer and closer to our apartment,” Price said.

Price said that’s when firefighters showed up.

“If it weren’t for them I think this whole place would have been gone,” he said.

Nan Doll drove up from Batesville to help her daughter collect personal belongings from her destroyed apartment.

“We got some stuff out. It’s a lot of water damage,” Doll said. “Some clothes I don’t know if we are going to salvage anything, but the biggest thing is she got out safe.”

West Lafayette Fire chief Tim Heath said one person died in the fire and another person was taken to St. Elizabeth East Hospital with unknown injuries. This marks the second fatal fire in West Lafayette in 36 years. Scott Notary, 22, died in a house fire on Lutz Avenue in November. Price said the news hits close to home.

“It’s sickening. It’s the second tragic death here at Purdue,” Price said. “I don’t think I will have known him or her, but I mean 200 feet away. It’s not right. In the prime of their lives probably.”

“It shakes you up a little bit,” Doll said. “It makes you stop and think life is kind of short. I just thank God that she got out. Thank God she got out.”

The identities of the people injured or deceased are not being released at this time. Students living in the eight apartments affected by the fire were taken to the Purdue Co-Rec Thursday morning. The fire is not considered to be suspicious and it is still under investigation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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