Child playing with lit candle sparks east side fire

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Investigators say a 4-year-old playing with a candle led to a house fire on the city’s east side Sunday night.

Fire crews were called to the 400 block of North State Avenue around 9 p.m. on a report of a duplex fire. One of the occupants, Gary Wheat, told firefighters he was watching television with his girlfriend’s children downstairs when he heard popping noises upstairs.

When he went to investigate, he found a blaze coming from the upstairs bedroom. Wheat said he tried to throw water on the fire, but the fire was too much.

He evacuated the house with the two children and called 911.  The children’s mother was not home at the time of the fire.

One of the children told investigators he was playing with a candle he found in his mother’s bedroom.

Firefighters brought the fire under control within 20 minutes.  No one was hurt.  Damage is estimated at $65,000.

The Indianapolis Fire Department cautions parents about leaving candles burning unattended.  Children are naturally curious about fire and should never have access to any dangerous item such as lighters, matches or candles.

IFD offers a program aimed at educating children with an unusual curiosity about fire.  The IFD Fire Stop Hotline is 327-3473.  Trained counselors can talk with children about the dangers of fire.  Click here for more information on Survive Alive. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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