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Investigators trying to determine cause of fire that left infant badly burned

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An 11-month-old baby is fighting for its life after being severely burned in a Sunday afternoon apartment fire.

On Monday, the child’s mother was released from Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. The fire happened Sunday evening at the Mayfield Green Cooperative Apartments near West 43rd Street and Moller Road on the city’s northwest side. 

Outside the apartment on Monday, things look normal. The curtains at the residence were still in place and there was no charred debris. 

“It’s not unusual for cooking fires or something like that,” said Deputy Chief Jim Campbell with Pike Township Fire Department . He continued, “I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it’s very often that cooking fires and small fires are contained. It’s really hard to tell from the outside.”

Fire broke out, trapping a mom and her baby. They managed to escape, barely. When firefighters arrived, the flames were out. 

“There were people milling around. The neighbors were out. There were people screaming. There were people yelling,” said Campbell.

The first priority was to take care of the mom and her baby. 

“The crew, before they even had a chance to deploy the hose line, were handed the child. So that took the priority,” said Campbell.

Medics rushed both to area hospitals. Officials secured the scene and began the investigation into what caused the fire. Campbell says because a child was injured, protocol would be to not rule out criminal intent including arson. 

“Until everything is ruled out, everything is ruled in. It’s just going through and determining what did and did not happen and then narrowing things down from there,” he said. 

IMPD, the Indiana fire marshal and the Department of Child Services are all involved in the investigation, Campbell said.

Although it’s too early to tell exactly what happened, next door neighbor Ayodele Adebiyi, who knows the victims, said he is certain of one thing: “She always carries the baby. She always plays with that baby. She’s a good mother.”

On Monday, authorities had not released the names of those involved. Campbell said he expects the investigation to wrap up in the next five days.