Deadly fire in Portage

Fire-damaged windows of the Ram Hotel Apartments in Portage

PORTAGE (WKOW) -- A toddler is dead after a fire broke out in the Ram Hotel Apartments in Portage Sunday morning.Police said it happened in a fifth floor apartment in the 200 block of W. Cook St. around 10 a.m.

Demetrius Cullins lives in the building and describes what happened.

"It was a pretty big fire. It was going pretty fast," he said.

Cullins said he was sleeping when someone started banging on the apartment door.

"When I went outside, the building manager was like, active fire. Everyone has to get out. I just rushed my son out," Cullins told 27 News. 

"With the aid of officers, they started evacuating other individuals in the building and learned that possibly an individual was remaining in the main apartment in the 5th floor. The officers returned and tried to help rescue those individuals, found open flame emanating from one of the doorways," said Lt. Daniel Garrigan with the Portage Police Department.

Cullins was lucky enough to have escaped with his son, but one father was not so lucky.

Police say a toddler died after firefighters found the one-year-old in a fifth floor apartment.

The boy's father told 27 News he tried frantically to save his son, but the smoke and flame were too much. He also said he tried putting out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but he says it didn't work properly.

"The fire department arrived and recessed some of the fire, made entry and found an individual inside. Unfortunately, life saving measures have failed and this individual passed away," Garrigan said.

Tazia Mills had just arrived at the building as emergency crews worked to save the boy.

"The baby was unconscious. You could tell he wasn't breathing. They were doing CPR," she said.

"I just know the father is really upset about his son being unconscious," Cullins said.

Portage police are helping people displaced by the fire. residents are asked to go to the basement of City Hall in Portage to check in. The Portage Presbyterian Church at West Pleasant and Clark Streets has set up a shelter for displaced residents. The Red Cross expects about 75 people.

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