INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Wayne Township Fire Department is calling a fire that killed two people early Sunday morning on the city’s west side an accident.
The house that caught fire had been vacant for about a year, according to neighbors, but officials say the fire was started by “careless smoking” inside the home.
It was around 5:40 Sunday morning when neighbors saw fire coming out of a home on the 600 block of Laclede Street.
Firefighters rule deadly fire on west side accidental
“I saw a lot of fire in the home and then a couple police,” says neighbor Maria Patino.
“The roof was blazing, coming from the back side of the house, and my girlfriend was across the street pounding on their door waking them up,” says a neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous. He says he and his girlfriend hurried to call 911 when they realized what was happening.
Although the home was vacant, neighbors say the house has had an issue with squatters coming in and out. What was left inside the house caused some issues for firefighters as they worked to put out the flames.
“The house had a lot of contents inside of it from the previous owner, what we would call a hoarder home, and it made it difficult to maneuver through the house,” said Capt. Michael Pruitt with Wayne Township Fire.
Fire officials say they recovered the bodies of a man and woman. Their names have not been released. While neighbors say they didn’t know the people who were inside, they are upset to hear that the fire right across the street from their house killed two people.
“Somebody lost their life,” said a neighbor. “It is somebody’s son or daughter, whoever it was.”
It took crews about 20 minutes to put out the fire. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor burns. No other homes were damaged during the fire.