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Man killed by smoke from fire in his Hammond apartment

A 69-year-old northwest Indiana man died of smoke inhalation Saturday afternoon after a fire at his Hammond home.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at the five-unit apartment building about 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the 0-100 block of Elizabeth Street, according to Hammond Fire Department Inspector Jason Rogers.

The fire originated in an apartment on the second floor, where firefighters found Paul Pendleton alone in the unit, Rogers said.

He was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond, where he was pronounced dead at 12:44 p.m., according to the Lake County coroner’s office. Pendleton suffered smoke inhalation from the fire and his death was ruled an accident.

Another tenant who lived on the second floor had to break open a window to get onto the back staircase, Rogers said. He was taken to St. Margaret with non-life-threatening injuries.

The fire was extinguished “within minutes” and was contained to one room in Pendleton’s apartment, Rogers said.

But six residents were displaced when the building was rendered uninhabitable because of smoke and water damage, Rogers said. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist with housing.

Rogers said the cause remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.