IMPD and IFD investigating fatal fire on the east side


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Firefighters are trying to figure out what sparked a fire at a trailer where someone died. It happened near Massachusetts Avenue and Rural Street on the east side. Firefighters tell us they believe it was an adult man who died, but don’t know who it is.

People who live around there tell us they woke up on Saturday morning to see flames shooting out of a trailer behind the home. Investigators say you could see those flames from as far away as Rural Street. Once they were able to put out the fire, they found out there was a man who had been inside.

It was a frigid morning for firefighters as they worked to put out the flames. They got the call just after 8 am. There was a person who lived in the trailer, which was like a small bus, behind a home. Police say the homeowner saw the fire and called first responders. Investigators tell us the person who lived back there had permission from people who owned the property.

Firefighters say working with smaller structures can be tricky.

“Certainly people live in mobile homes,” said IFD spokesperson Rita Reith. “They live in trailers. We do see that quite often where we have fires in there and they do go very quickly.”

This was one of more than 20 active structure fires the Indianapolis Fire Department has put out since the new year started. No word yet on what caused this one, but Reith says many of the others involved electronics people use to try to stay warm.

“If you have an appliance like a space heater and it's sparking, replace it,” said Reith. “Don't try to fix your extension cord replace it. These things are far cheaper to replace than it is to replace all your possessions or your life.”

The below-freezing temperature also took a toll on the crews trying to put out fires, but they still did their best when the call came.

People we talked with say they knew the man, but he mostly kept to himself living in the trailer.

IMPD's homicide unit works with the fire department anytime someone dies in a fire, so that is standard procedure. Firefighters tell us there was an extension cord run from the camper to a detached garage, but no word on if that had something to do with the fire.

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