Elderly woman barely escapes Selma fire

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SELMA, Ind. (March 28, 2016) - An elderly woman barely escaped a dangerous house fire Easter Sunday in Selma.

The fire was reported around 2 p.m. in the 9900 block of Washington Street. Neighbors called 911 after reporting seeing smoke and flames coming from the house. Multiple agencies responded including The Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department,  Albany Fire Department, Blountsville Fire Department, Parker City Fire Department, Yorktown Fire Department, Selma Police Department, and Delaware County EMS. Neighbors reported it took just minutes for the fire to engulf the home.

Rebecca Karcher, 86, was inside the home when it caught fire. Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Randy Ried said the woman fell asleep in her living room. Fire crews aren't sure how long Karcher was inside the home before she woke up.

Neighbor Norma Zearbauch said she didn't smell smoke or see flames, but saw Karcher rushing to her home next door, using her cane that was partially burnt.

“I went to the door and I’ll never forget the look on her face. She says ‘please, Norma, call 911. My house is on fire,'" Zearbauch said.

Karcher sustained first and second degree burns to her head, face, and neck. She was taken to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and later flown to Eskanazi Hospital in Indianapolis. She remains in the burn unit and on a ventilator. Karcher also suffered severe smoke inhalation.

"Her face looked like she had a severe sunburn, because her skin wasn't falling off or anything like that, she just looked burnt," said Zearbauch.

The home will have to be torn down. Fire crews are still working to determine an exact cause, but believe the fire is accidental.