Lawsuit Blames Faulty Hydrants in Ind. Apartment Fire

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- A lawsuit has been filed against the owners of a Noblesville apartment complex where firefighting efforts were hampered by faulty hydrants, officials said.

A car fire is believed to have sparked the blaze that destroyed 25 units at the Deer Chase Apartments at 12190 Whirlaway Drive earlier this month.

Noblesville fire officials said one of the two closest hydrants near the complex was not working properly. Hydrant maintenance is the responsibility of the housing complex, not the city, officials said.

Susan Smith, a longtime resident of the complex, filed a proposed class-action suit against Crestline Communities and Crestline Property Management claiming negligence.

"The fire engines arrived quickly and with what should have been ample time to contain and extinguish the fire. However, when they connected their hoses to hydrants that were owned by the apartment complex, the water pressure was almost non-existent," the lawsuit reads.

"The firefighters were forced to run their hoses nearly one mile, to hydrants outside of the complex, in order to obtain suitable water pressure."

The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Smith, who lost her car and other belongings, and others affected by the fire.

Jim Erickson, vice president of Crestline Communities, said last week he was working with authorities to determine what went wrong and why the hydrants weren't working properly.

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