1 dead, 2 homes destroyed in 2 alarm fire

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Fire Department
A man was killed in a two alarm fire on the near northwest side early Sunday morning.

Firefighters were called to the area of 28th and Rader streets just after midnight Sunday, according to the Indianapolis Fire Department. When they arrived, flames and smoke were coming through the roof of one house.

Officials said when the fire began to spread to nearby homes, a second alarm was called. Both houses were torn down Sunday morning because they were unsafe.

Family members told Eyewitness News that 52-year-old Charles Lasley died as a result of the fire. He leaves behind six children and even more grandchildren.

For Lasley's brother, Robert, it makes April 20th an especially difficult day.

“I love my brother and I'm going to miss him. My daddy died a year ago today on this same day,” he said.

As if that isn't enough, the home at 28th and Rader that he helped build with his grandfather had to come down as a result of the fire. Demolition crews took out decades worth of memories in a matter of minutes.

“Seeing it come down...broke my heart, but I guess we don't need it anymore because my brother isn't here, so I don't want to see it anymore,” Lasley said.

At last check, investigators still were not sure which of the two homes first caught fire.

“I thought my house was next," said neighbor George Brown. "Had it not been for the aluminum siding, I think it would have had it."

His house was not damaged and sits a matter of inches from the one where family members said Lasley passed away.

“He tried to get out, and I couldn't help him and I'm really hurt about that. I'm really hurt,” said neighbor Carla Council.

She said she smelled the smoke, noticed the flames and came running down the street to get people out.

“It was ugly. It was real ugly,” she said.

Firefighters said they originally thought the two homes were empty, but later learned otherwise.

The stubborn flames delayed crews from getting inside until about 40 minutes after they arrived. Once inside, they found Lasley's body.

“He wound up passing by the same means as he tried to use to save somebody else,” said neighbor Ralph Pipkin.

Pipkin said he and Lasley tried to rescue other neighbors from a burning home a few years ago.

“For me and Charlie, it was too much smoke but I have to give admiration to him because he tried,” he said.

And loved ones believe he tried to save himself early Sunday morning, but didn't make it out in time.

Firefighters said there were no smoke detectors inside Lasley's home. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. An autopsy is set for Monday.

Residents of the other home were away during the fire. Both homes have been torn down.