CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) - Officials say two children are dead and four people were taken to the hospital following a Monday morning condo fire in Cumberland, just east of Indianapolis.
A woman, later identified as Stephanie Eppert, was in critical condition at Wishard Memorial Hospital Monday.
A 19-year-old man who was visiting the home at the time of the fire, suffered burns to his lower feet, legs, hands and forearms. Officials say he carried Dominic Eppert out of the home. Eppert suffered from smoke inhalation but is in good condition.
Another man, 19-year-old Marc Benton was treated for minor smoke inhalation
PHOTOS | Cumberland apartment fire
The fire broke out around 9:18 a.m. at Raintree Commons in Cumberland, near Washington and Muessing streets.
The woman who owns the building said three children who lived in the unit that burned are autistic. She said the mother, Stephanie Eppert, took many steps to protect her children in the residence.
"She was very careful," said Sondra Hayes-Hartman. "She made sure they didn't have access to the stove ... She made sure they were not in places where they could be harmed."
The family who lived in that condo was supposed to get a new home this year from Habitat for Humanity. The group was working with the Autism Society of Indiana to include special safety features. Construction on that Habitat home was to begin this summer.
"We worked with them and gave them some ideas about different ways to maybe build things or install things that would make it easier to keep them protected," said Dana Renay, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Indiana.
"We, as a family organization are still trying to process it," said Jim Morris, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. "It's been pretty devastating. This is not something that you can prepare for. This has hit us all obviously by surprise."
The deceased children have been identified as Genesis Eppert, 9, and Forrest Eppert, 8.
A neighbor told 24-Hour News 8 that he tried to help the family out of the home when he heard screaming. He said he poured buckets of water on the fire before firefighters arrived and was not able to reach three people. He said he thinks five people live in the apartment.
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