Young mother had planned to open day care before losing home to fire

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A young mother and her family watched their future dreams go up in flames on the northwest side of Indianapolis early Tuesday morning.

Pike Township fire crews were called to the 7500 block of Michigan road around 2 a.m. to find flames shooting from a house.

“Upon arrival we had heavy fire coming from the rear of the structure,” said Pike Township Fire Deputy Chief Chris Bachman. “And confirmed at that point that all six occupants were out of the home.”

Melissa Duncan, 21 and Luke Jackson, 23, had grabbed their 2-year-old son Eli, and 4-month-old daughter Aubrey before running outside to safety. Melissa’s mother Karen and brother Ken had also escaped the fire. Melissa, holding her 2-year old son, could only watch as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

“He kind of put his head down and he gave me a hug and he said ‘Mommy, it’s okay,’” Melissa Duncan said. “And I told him, ‘buddy it’s okay.’”

After the initial panic of escaping the burning house, Melissa says she began to feel the gravity of what had been lost in the fire. Melissa says she and her family had just moved into the house about a month ago, and were in the process of renovating it.

Not only would the house be Melissa’s first chance to have a permanent home, but she also had plans to turn the house into a home day care.

“I was really motivated, I put all my money into it to do so,” she said. “And it just really hurts.”

Kathy Saracoff, who lives next door, helped to assist Melissa and her family immediately after they escaped the fire.

“She was saying ‘I can’t believe it, it’s so unfair, we’ve just put everything we had into this to remodel,’” Saracoff said. “’And now it’s all gone.’”

Saracoff was looking forward to the young family becoming new, permanent neighbors.

“I guess I’m a wanna-be grandma and I was looking at this little 2-year-old and this baby and thinking ‘how can we be a blessing to them,’” she said. “I just was excited.”

While Melissa and her family have suspicions about the electrical wiring inside the home, fire investigators have not determined the cause or origin of the fire.

Melissa says she is thankful she and her family are okay, and grateful to friends who are helping them in their time of need. But she also feels the weight of uncertainty, not knowing where the future will take them next.

“I was looking forward to making this house our home,” Melissa said.