Two firefighters hurt while battling fire at vacant home

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 11, 2015) — Two firefighters are recovering after getting hurt while battling a vacant house fire on the near east side.

One firefighter is recovering from a shoulder injury and the other is recovering from a back injury. One firefighter tried to grab the other while he was falling through the roof of the vacant home. Both were taken to Eskenazi Hospital to be checked out.

Firefighters were called to the house in the 200 block of Parkview Avenue around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. When they got there, crews say the fire was heavy, but they were able to get it under control in about an hour. The fire caused about $85,000 in damage.

"The smoke was just so thick and everything, we had to go back in the house because we couldn’t breathe," said neighbor Renee Herrington-Williams.

While the cause of Sunday night's fire is still under investigation, it comes after two fires happened on the northwest side on Friday, which were both ruled arson.

One happened in an vacant home on Udell Street. In that neighborhood, there are more than a thousand vacant homes, and city leaders say those homes are becoming easy targets for criminal activity.

“We need the neighborhood to be vigilant about who’s going in and out of these vacant structures. if you see something, please call it in. Anything that you might have descriptive wise as a suspicious person, suspicious vehicle… no one is supposed to be going out of these vacant structures and we need to be keeping an eye on what’s happening in the neighborhood,” said Indianapolis Fire Department Captain Rita Reith.

If you see something suspicious around a vacant home, you're encouraged to call Crime Stoppers, before a crime has the opportunity to happen.

“If you see something, prior to a fire breaking out in your neighborhood, if you see unusual or suspicious activity going on in your neighborhood with people going in and out of these boarded up structures, make sure you call that information in," Reith said.

So far this year there have been 10 arrests for arson. Investigators say tips from the community have helped lead to those arrests. If you see something suspicious call police or Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.  Rewards are offered for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.

Again, the cause of the most recent fire on Sunday night is still under investigation.