Four dead in Saturday morning east side house fire
Indianapolis Fire Department officials say two adults and two children died after a house fire Saturday morning in the 2100 block of North Olney Street on the city's east side.
The call came in around 9:10 Saturday morning from a driver on I-70 who noticed the fire. Additional 911 calls helped dispatchers pinpoint the exact location.
Firefighters arrived and pulled six people out of the small bungalow-style home. Two adults were rushed to Eskenazi Hospital where they both passed away. They were identified later Saturday afternoon as Lionel "Leo" Guerra, 47 and Brandy Mae Guerra, 33.
Four children, ages six, eight, 11, and 14 years old were all taken to Riley Hospital in critical condition. Esteban, 11, and Blanquita Guerra, 8, were transported to the hospital but were pronounced dead a short time later. A 14-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy remain in critical condition at Riley Hospital.
"I'm really sorry to hear about the children and that they died," sighed neighbor Fred Pierce. He sat on his porch Saturday morning and watched everything and said it was all like a bad dream.
"Nobody expects a house to catch on fire and kill people. We have a lot of things going on in this neighborhood, but we don't think of anything like that happening," Pierce said.
He remembers the four children getting off the school bus not far from his home.
"They always had their little lunch boxes with them and they would kind of [skip] down the street here playing with one another," Pierce said.
What started the fire is still under investigation. While the flames were put out in a matter of minutes, the impact will be felt for a lifetime.
"This is probably one of the most tragic situations that we've ever encountered," said Capt. Rita Reith with the Indianapolis Fire Department.
In addition to the toll it takes on the family, it also takes a toll on first responders.
"That's something that firefighters typically never forget, and they'll carry with them and digest over and over [and wonder] was there anything they could [have done] to make a difference," Capt. Reith said.
Family friends like Donald Whittaker watched from a distance.
"They were real friendly," he said. On his way to a job, Whittaker said he's known the family for decades.
"His wife was real helpful to him because he was a diabetic and then he lost a lung and she was doing everything she could for him," Whittaker said.
Now the entire family is in need in their darkest hour.
"Please keep them in your prayers," Capt. Reith said.
The cause of death has not been released by the coroner's office and no names will be released until all family members have been notified.
Fire officials tell Eyewitness News that no working smoke detectors were found in the home and they do not believe foul play was involved.
We will continue to follow this story and update you as more information becomes available.