Family of 6 accounted for after fire destroys south side home

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Firefighters say all six family member have been accounted for, after a weekend fire that destroyed their home. Initially crews believe they were trapped inside the house.

It happened on the 500 block of Terrace Avenue, near East Street on the city’s south side.

The fire was so massive that it was too dangerous for even firefighters to go near. Neighbors told them that they heard screams coming from inside the home.

“It was a distinct scream. As soon as I heard that, a big gust of flames-it was so hot it took my breath away. I had to back away and then it went silent,” said Graham Fitzpatrick.

His brother, William Fitzpatrick added, “We went over there to try and get into the house to see if people were in there. It got too hot to even get in the door.”

The home behind where the Fitzpatrick’s live is now being demolished. Fire ripped through it causing it to collapse. Firefighters couldn’t get inside to save the family neighbors thought was still in the home.

“More and more neighbors come out in the street making things very kind of stressful for everyone. Because we weren’t able to locate the residents and we weren’t able to get in there and do an effective search,” said Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

It took about forty minutes for crews to put out the blaze. But the work was just beginning. Next, the search for the family started.

“It took them about two and half hours to remove, piece by piece, the large pieces of debris and then get down into the piles, using saws, shovels-anything that they could get their hands on to pick it up and move it out of the way,” said Reith.

But crews weren’t able to find any signs of the family. A day went by and eventually, the family contacted officials. All were safe.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done if there would’ve been somebody in there. I would have lost it. It’s a big relief,” said Fitzpatrick.

At this time, officials don’t know what started the fire. The investigation is now underway. If you have any information on the fire, please call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.