Make your home page

Mother, son die in house fire in New Castle

Woman and her son killed in New Castle house fire

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — A mother and her adult son died Tuesday evening in a home fire in New Castle, the New Castle Fire Department says.

The Henry County Coroner’s Office identified them as Sandra Shipley, 70, and Brock Shipley, 48.

New Castle firefighters were sent about 5:40 p.m. Tuesday to the 1000 block of I Avenue. That is in a residential area toward the center of New Castle.

Crews arrived to find heavy flames showing from the front of the home. Firefighters eventually called in additional engines for extra manpower. Crews extinguished the blaze by 8:28 p.m. No firefighters were injured.

After searching the home, investigators found the Shipleys dead inside.

Investigators by Wednesday afternoon had not publicly announced if they’d determined the cause of the fire, but they believe it may have been accidental. Police tape surrounded the home as investigators were there.

A local resident, Charles South, said of the fire, “It’s very difficult really. I’m kind of in shock right now over it.”

Friends of Sandy say she will be missed, and that she and her son Brock have left a hole in the community. “She just got along with everybody and she did have a real bad back and could hardly move,” Brian Duvall said.

“She had a really good personality. She was always nice to people. I don’t know what she used to like to do except probably sit around home since she was in so much pain a lot, but she was very nice,” Duvall said. “Very sorry for them. I’ll say prayers for them and she will be missed. From the time I’ve been around her, I’m sure there are lot of people, family and other friends that really loved her because she’s that kind of person.”

Neighbors believe the Shipleys’ dog also perished in the fire.

“I had seen the people, the lady and the son, and the dog. He walked his dog every day, and it’s so close to home anyway,” Ashley Johnson said.

Johnson lives across from the Shipleys’ former home. “I got a phone call from my mom. She said there was a fire at about 5:36, to go check on the house. Well, I assumed it was down the road and I got here at about 6, and it was already engulfed, and they were just then kicking the door down in the back.”

Indiana Department of Homeland Security has recorded 79 fatalities from fires in 2023. In 2022, the agency reported 71 residential fire fatalities.

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to change the number of fire fatalities in 2022