Firefighters are trying to determine the cause of fire that gutted a southeast Wichita apartment building Thursday. Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said firefighters were called to the High Point East apartments at 9400 E. Lincoln about 3 p.m. and found smoke pouring from one of the three-story buildings.
A second alarm was turned in, Crisp said, and firefighters were forced to go into a defensive mode as flames broke through the roof.
Fire crews used four aerial platforms to pour water on the flames throughout the afternoon but were unable to save the building.
Crisp said 20 families were displaced by the blaze, and the Red Cross was called in to help them. He said two people were treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.
Crisp said a building next to the one that burned was evacuated but was not damaged by the fire.
Violet Dakora, a Wichita State University student who lives in the complex, said she was taking a nap Thursday afternoon when the fire started.
"When I woke up the building was on fire," she said as she stood outside the burning building. "The whole balcony was burning."
Within 20 minutes, she said, the flames had all but consumed the building.
Crisp confirmed that the fire started on a balcony, but he said the exact cause had yet to be determined.