Squatters the cause of vacant house fire, neighbors say

Vacant house fire

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A fire ripped through a two-story home near East Washington and Lasalle streets.

Once on the scene, neighbors told the crews they heard someone scream inside the burning structure.

One neighbor believes the presence of squatters may be a part of the problem.

Firefighters ran inside, put out the flames, and found no one in the house. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and firefighters estimate the damage to be around $35,000. As of Monday evening, firefighters have yet to determine how the fire started.

A neighbor told 24-Hour News 8 that a week before the fire, squatters were going in and out of the boarded-up building.

The woman who lives next door said she doesn’t bother them, and they don’t bother her.

“They are all very nice to me,” said Ms. Taylor, who lives next to the burned-out home.

But what does annoy her is that the place she calls home now sits next to the fire damage.

Neighbors are now left with a house-sized eyesore right in the middle of the neighborhood.

“I don’t want my children to see this when they ask questions, and what is going on, but I can’t shelter them because there is so much in the world that they need to know about,” said Taylor.

Residents are encouraged to call IMPD if they spot squatters coming in and out of vacant homes. The documented complaint can start the process of having the property boarded up to keep people from trespassing.

IFD has reported to several fires in the East Washington and Lasalle area. It is unclear what may have caused those fires.