Public safety director to release review of Richmond Hill final report

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Public Safety Director Troy Riggs will speak publicly Wednesday afternoon about the efficiency of the emergency response effort in the Richmond Hill explosion. A news conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the City County Building.

The report is expected to highlight how on-duty firefighters and police, off-duty sheriff’s deputies and emergency crews responded moments after the south side explosion.

It is something Sarah Schout can attest to. Her family of six lives five homes down from the blast on Fieldfare Way.

“They were so caring and quick,” said Schout. “We’re proud to live in Indianapolis. We really are.”

The Schouts are one of the last families to rebuild in the neighborhood. Two weeks ago, they brought their four kids back for the first time as they broke ground.

Sarah and her husband decided to wait to make it easier for their oldest children, Ethan and Ada, who are autistic.

“We really wanted to bring them back when there was something positive to see,” said Schout. “It’s very difficult, especially for our oldest two, to understand what even happened.”

For the Schouts, routine is key, even in their darkest moments. It’s the same mentality Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs strives for his staff to have. For the past week, Riggs has been looking over the full report.

“There are incredible stories of what we did well,” said Riggs. “I want to make sure that’s in our protocol in the future.”

The Schouts saw the response first-hand on Nov. 10. A firefighter trained at locating people with Alzheimer’s or special needs in case they wander, showed up at their door. Ada wears the tracking band from Project Lifesaver around her ankle.

“Our firefighter in charge of the kids put us in his car, took us to the Indy Fire Rescue House that very same night. The response was phenomenal,” said Schout. “That’s the way it should work, and they did.”

It is that quick thinking and care that’s helped the Schouts while they rebuild. With their insurance settlement and savings, they are transforming their one-story, 1,500 square-foot home to a two-story, with twice the space for the kids.

Sarah calls it their blessing in disguise.

“God is good. He is faithful. He saw it. He protected us and now he’s going to give us this.”