77-year-old man dies in house fire Tuesday night

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Fire investigators believe smoking caused a house fire that killed a 77-year-old man Tuesday night on the city's near north side.

Indianapolis Firefighters were called around 11:15 p.m. to 1501 Roache St, where they pulled out a man trapped in a second floor bedroom. IEMS Medics initiated CPR on him and he was transported to Eskenazi hospital in critical condition, but later died.

Two women were downstairs in the home at the time and heard smoke detectors activate. They heard their male friend yelling upstairs that something was on fire and to get out of the house. 67-year-old Ruth Walls ran upstairs and saw the bedroom on fire, so went back downstairs and evacuated her home. She and her daughter Marbella escaped uninjured. They think their friend tried to put out the fire and was overcome by heavy smoke.

"Initially they had nothing showing and as they were getting their gear together to make entry into the house, the fire vented itself through the window," said Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD). "So, again they made a fast attack and a fast initial search so they did just about everything they could."

Investigators believe the fire started in the man's upstairs bedroom where they believe he was smoking. His name has not yet been released.

IFD estimates about $50,000 in damage to the near-north side residence.

This is the 13th fire-related death this year in IFD's service district.