One dead, two injured in south side house fire - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

One dead, two injured in south side house fire


Investigators think they know what started a deadly fire on the city's south side Monday night. 

Indianapolis firefighters were called to the 6700 block of Orinoco Ave., in a neighborhood northwest of Southport Rd. and Madison Ave. The alarm sounded just after 9:00 p.m.

Janice Waling, 35, was killed Monday night in the fire. Family members believe she was smoking in bed. 

On Tuesday we found friends and coworkers trying to help a family suffering its second hardship in one year. They see a family that's devastated and that needs help.

Trapped inside a home engulfed in flames, Janice Waling was beyond the reach of rescuers. Curtis Johnson, an Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer and two others, couldn't get to her. 

"We were immediately overcome by the smoke," he said. "It was very intense. We couldn't see where we were going."

Janice, who friends say was disabled by an auto accident as a teenager, perished. Her younger sister and mother were injured. Their home is unlivable. 

The second daughter, 22, was transported to Eskenazi Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and burns. She was upgraded to good condition later Tuesday morning. 

The mother, 53, was treated at St. Francis Hospital, then joined her surviving daughter at Eskenazi.

Laurie Layton and other neighbors are caring for the family.

"They need a lot of prayers, and a lot of love, a lot of support, a lot of kindness," she said.

Layton explained that about ten months ago, before Donetta Waling lost her oldest daughter and home to a fire, she lost her husband to cancer. 

"Let's be honest. This is a loss I'm not sure they are going to handle," she paused and went on, "How could anyone deal with it; I don't know."

This is a neighborhood where neighbors are also friends. Laurie and her husband Sheriff John Layton are both.

Earlier this year, Donetta started working in the Marion County Jail as a civilian employee of the laundry. Tuesday morning, coworkers received an appeal for prayers and donations. 

A community-wide fund raising effort for the family is also underway. For Laurie Layton and others, the family's hardship is personal.

"I think anyone with a heart would take it personally, because they are wonderful people," said Layton.

In addition to what's seen from the outside, there's extensive smoke and water damage throughout the home. The family has found a temporary place live as they work to rebuild their home and their lives.

Two family dogs also died in the home, according to IFD.

Firefighters estimate the house sustained $60,000 in damage.

Monetary donations and gifts cards for the Waling family can be mailed to:

Marion Co Sheriff's Dept
c/o Shawn Williams
40 S Alabama St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Financial Contributions:
Chase Bank
Donetta Waling Fund

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