Two Elkhart men had to leap from their home to save their lives when fire broke out Sunday night.
It happened shortly after 7 at a home near the intersection of 5th Street and Jackson Place. Michael Cross and his dad were upstairs in the house with Michael’s girlfriend having dinner when they suddenly realized something was wrong.
“I think dad noticed smoke and flames. The whole side of the house engulfed in flames,” Michael said. “It was either you jump or a whole lot worse is going to happen. Not much more to it."
Michael's girlfriend was able to get down the stairs just in time, but not Michael and his dad.
"It was too late for me and my dad to get out, so we jumped from the 2nd story.”
Firefighters called for police to come for crowd control.
The two suffered minor ankle injuries and several cats escaped unharmed.
Elkhart Fire Department Chief Investigator Tony Balzano told WSBT the cause of fire is labeled "accidental." He said it looks like they were using a charcoal grill on the second story deck or porch and the heat from the charcoal caught the wood structure on fire.
Indiana state code says people are not allowed to do that in houses or apartments that have a second story porch or deck.
The men will not be ticketed or cited for the fire.