Second victim dies from injuries in Spiceland house fire

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The husband of a woman who was killed in a Spiceland house fire last week has also died.

Eugene Hollars died Monday at Eskenazi Hospital, according to Todd Harper, Eskenazi spokesman.

The fire was reported at 3:45 a.m. on Dec. 19 in the 600 block of Broad Street in Spiceland, about 40 miles east of Indianapolis.

Hours after the fire broke out, heavy smoke still poured from the now-unrecognizable home. Firefighters were still putting out hot spots well into Thursday morning.

Henry County Coroner Steve Hacker said the body of 58-year-old Rita Hollars of Spiceland was found near the front door of her home, leading officials to believe she was trying to escape the fire early Thursday that also killed the family dog.

"It's just terrible. It's just terrible," said a neighbor.

The woman's husband, Eugene, told firefighters she was still inside the home. He was flown by Stat Flight air ambulance to Indianapolis with burns over 80 percent of his body. He succumbed to his injuries Monday.

It was an upsetting day for neighbors who heard a commotion and ran to help. Neighbors say the couple used a homemade wood burner to supplement heat in the home, which was converted from an old wood barn. Investigators haven't said whether or not that contributed to the fire.

"At this time, it's hard to say, until we get in there and look around," said Spiceland Fire Chief Scott Teague.

Firefighters say heat and smoke prevented them from getting inside. They also say a frozen hydrant delayed firefighting efforts, but they say because of the intensity of the fast-moving fire, it likely would not have changed the outcome.