Fire at Indianapolis homeless shelter displaces 80 residents

A fire forced 80 residents out of the Good News Ministries shelter on the east side. (Photo: IFD)
Fire at men's shelter under investigation
Fire displaces shelter residents

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - As fire investigators looked for a cause, it was so cold that water from fire trucks froze.

And workers at the shelter had to lay down ice melt even after dozens of homeless citizens look for a new place to stay after fire broke out at an Indianapolis homeless shelter.

Shelter manager Shannon Handy said, "God is good and the way it happened, it could’ve been a whole lot worse. We are thankful that it wasn’t."

It happened late afternoon at Good News Ministries Men’s Shelter at Washington and Rural.

"One of the guys from the shelter saw there was smoke coming upstairs in the area where they normally reside," said Handy. "So they let everybody know and we started getting people evacuated very quickly. Because it was pretty bad."

So quickly that no one was hurt.

"It did burn a hole in the roof, at the top, so we will have to fix that. And it did damage a major part of a bathroom area of the communal showers that we have up there for the men but it looks like most of the sleeping area is are fine," said Handy.

Staff at other shelters came to see if Good News Ministries needed help, knowing on a night like this, 80 to 120 men might need housing here.

"We just thought maybe they needed extra assistance," said Tasha Moore from Another Lighthouse Corp.

Shelters, they say, look out for each other.

As day turned to night, Good News Ministries was moving men over to its other shelter across the street. Concerned about fumes in the building.

And they were readying to move mattresses from their warehouse across the street to the youth center area, so more men can have some where to sleep tonight.

Some men tell us this housing is critical.

"It’s very discouraging to get put out of your house, where you live, people turn you away and nobody wants to hear your side of what’s going on in your life. So it does help you out. It makes you stronger," said David Smith.