BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Fire crews are investigating in Beech Grove after a 2-year-old girl was killed, and her father and 3-year-old brother injured, in a multi-unit house fire.
"He was screaming and hollering that his child was in there and she could not get out," said neighbor Victoria Matney.
The fire department responded to the home near the intersection of Albany Street and North 6th Avenue around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. According to Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith, dispatch received numerous calls about flames and black smoke coming from the home.
"He was wailing out. I mean he was screaming. I have never heard a man holler like that," said Matney.
On Wednesday evening, family identified the 2-year-old girl as Brianna Chislom.
Earlier in the day, the father, Dennis, and his 3-year-old son, Brendan, were released from the hospital.
The house is split into four units: two units on the first floor, and two units on the second floor. Three of the four units are occupied with one vacant unit on the top floor. According to Reith, the fire started in the rear unit in the first floor.
- A man and his two sons were rescued from the roof after exiting from the window on the top floor.
- A woman in the front first-floor unit was at home washing dishes at the time of the fire, and she was able to escape on her own.
- A 35-year-old man was in the rear unit with his 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. The father tried to escape with both of his children, but the fire got out of control. The little girl was unable to make it out of the home, and she was killed. The father and his son were transported to the hospital in serious condition.
“The father was desperately trying to get the little girl to come with him, and she could not," said Reith. "And then the fire just quickly grew out of control, and he had to get out. He was only able to make it out with the 3-year-old boy."
Neighbor Ron Constant says he heard the father trying to get back inside of the house.
"That is what woke me up. He was beating on the side of the wall. Trying to knock a window out and to get to his daughter," said Constant.
Constant says he jumped into action, grabbed his two sons, and jumped out of a window to safety.
"God was with us. We got out of there as we were climbing out of the window. The smoke was following us and it was like something you see in a moive," he said.
Reith says crews will investigate the fire by the "process of elimination" to determine the cause.
"They will take all of the information they receive… and they’ll determine things that didn’t cause it. And oftentimes they can pinpoint the exact cause, and sometimes they can’t.”
To donate to the family's GoFundMe, click here.