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Fire Guts Whiting, Ind. Building

Fire guts a Whiting, Ind. building Sunday. (Susan Cornelius)

Fire guts a Whiting, Ind. building Sunday. (Susan Cornelius)

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UPDATED: 1/21/2013 11:14 a.m.

WHITING, Ind. (CBS) — A massive fire gutted a commercial-residential building in downtown Whiting, Ind., displacing residents from apartments and keeping firefighters outside in cold temperatures.

Icicles covered trees and power lines near the 117-year-old building at 119th and Sheridan — evidence of the hours-long attempt to knock the blaze out.

The fire started in the first floor of the building, which is anchored by Lubia’s dress shop, the landlord told CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov.

Firefighters began fighting the blaze in the afternoon and were still at the scene early Monday.

Residents of the building’s 10 apartments were displaced, but there were no injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A nearby business owner lauded the efforts of the police.

“If not for the quick action of the police, the tenants might not have gotten out safely,” Dee Young, owner of Chrislove Collectibles, told the Post-Tribune. “Within a minute of their exit, the windows of the shop blew out.”

The flames lit up the central part of the town.

“I walked out and smoke and flames were shooting halfway across street and people were running toward the building thinking family might be in danger,” Father Kevin Scalf, of St. John The Baptist parish, told CBS 2′s Susanna Song.

Father Scalf then noticed a resident of the apartment standing next to him.

“He was so upset, he lost everything, everything he had was gone,” he said. “Pictures of his deceased mother and father were burning in the apartment.”

The Elks Club in Whiting, 1521 119th Street (219) 659-9528, is open on Monday to accept donations for those who were displaced.