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Indianapolis fire captain rescues woman from burning house in Johnson County

Off-duty firefighter saves woman from house fire

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – Two people were injured in a morning fire in northwestern Johnson County, and an Indianapolis Fire Department who was in the vicinity when the blaze broke out rescued a woman, the White River Township Fire Department chief says.

The fire was reported just after 8:25 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of Leisure Lane. That just west of the border for the city of Greenwood in the Carefree subdivision, which is off Fairview Road west of State Road 135.

White River Township Fire Chief Jeremy Pell says in a news release that Indianapolis fire Capt. Mark Baranko was in the area and rescued a woman from the two-story home’s second floor.

An separate news release from Indianapolis Fire Department said, “He saw flames pushing from the second floor of a two story house. Mark pulled his car to the side and ran to help. The homeowner was out front and told Mark his wife was still inside. Mark assessed the situation and continued to ask the man pointed questions about her location. He told Mark his wife was upstairs in a rear bedroom.”

Once upstairs in the smoke-filled second level, “Mark was forced to the floor to conduct his search. Within a minute he located the unconscious woman in the doorway of a rear bedroom. Mark picked her up, carried her out the front door and once outside and established an airway. Area crews arrived on scene and assumed care for the woman transporting her to the hospital. Mark assisted with information for the incident commander and went on his way. He did not sustain any injuries,” IFD reported. 

White River Fire Department says the woman was taken in serious condition to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, and a second occupant, who made it out of the house prior to firefighters’ arrival, was stable when taken to the same hospital. The release did not name the people injured in the fire.

The blaze was under control in about 15 minutes, the fire chief says. Damage to the $300,000 home was estimated to be over $150,000. No firefighters were hurt.

Investigators remained on scene Tuesday afternoon to try to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

The nonprofit Fire Angels Inc. is helping the house’s occupants.

Mark Baranko (Provided Photo/Indianapolis Fire Department)


“I am extremely grateful for the quick actions of Captain Baranko. The outcome could have been much different had Captain Baranko not been in the area. Having worked with Captain Baranko in the past, I know firsthand that his decision to search the house is just one example of his commitment to serving others. The community has invested in this fire department. Today, a family realized the positive life changing impact a fire department can have on its community. I am extremely proud of everyone who responded to today’s fire.”

White River Township Fire Chief Jeremy Pell

“I am proud of the heroic efforts by Captain Baranko this morning. It is not every day that you are faced with a choice to risk your own life to save another and when faced with that choice today, Captain Baranko willingly took the risk. Mark is a consummate professional who excels in his duties as both an officer, a leader and instructor. We are proud to have him as a member of our firefighting family. Our thoughts are with all those affected by today’s fire and hope that the woman makes a full recovery.”

Indianapolis Fire Chief Ernest Malone