FORT WAYNE – Someone intentionally started a fire Tuesday inside a historic downtown building being eyed for apartment development, the Fort Wayne Fire Department said.
Firefighters were called to the Randall Building at Harrison and Pearl streets at 6:10 p.m., arriving in at least four trucks along with police officers.
The number of trucks was due to the buildings size, officials said.
Fire crews found smoke on the first floor and fire on the second floor. The fire was contained by the buildings sprinkler system and quickly extinguished. Fire and smoke damage was minor while water damage was moderate, officials said.
Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set and are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.
About 30 people inside the building – many of whom were in a yoga studio on the first floor – were evacuated safely, and there were no injuries.
The six-story building – which currently houses the yoga studio, a salon and coffee shop – was built in 1905 and could soon be the site of more than 40 renovated apartments.
The owner of the building said in August he has a purchase agreement with Carmel-based RealAmerica Development.
The company plans to renovate the downtown structure to accommodate 44 one- and two-bedroom units, investing $5 million to $7 million into the project.
Members of the yoga class were not deterred from their routine. Instead of canceling class, they moved their mats to a parking lot across the street and continued their movements and breathing exercises.
One woman said she was in deep meditation when she heard the faint sounds of a fire alarm followed by someone knocking on a door and telling everyone to leave.