A fire broke out in an Independence apartment complex near Van Horn High School, resulting in at least five injuries.

Independence Fire Batallion Chief Chuck Perry said fire and emergency crews responded to the Winner Place Apartments, a three-level apartment complex, in the 9500 block of Winner Road in Independence around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. He said the fire was put out 20 minutes after they arrived.

“AMR (American Medical Response) transported five people who primarily suffered from smoke inhalation,” said Perry. “None of which remain to be critical and no burn injuries to my knowledge.”

More people who were inside the complex were evaluated by medical personnel at the scene, he added.

He said that everyone inside the apartment complex at the time was alerted to evacuate during the fire, but some tenants could not escape due to a stairwell being “full of smoke.”

“We (Independence Fire) had to actually remove four people by ladder rescue,” said Perry. “There were three people from the third floor and one from a basement window that escaped by a ladder.”

Perry says the fire originated in a first floor bedroom and caused “signifcant smoke damage” on the second floor and “light smoke damage” on the third floor. He added there were 12 apartments total in the section of the complex where the fire took place, and all experienced some form of smoke damage.

Investigators are currently determining the official cause of Thursday’s fire, says Perry, but one resident believes the fire started by a candle flame. The resident also said American Red Cross personnel arrived to help those residents who were displaced by the fire.

A section of Winner Road was temporarily closed to prevent vehicles from driving over supply hoses that were located across the street near Van Horn High School, according to Perry.