Vacant house fires putting Indianapolis firefighters into dangerous situations

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Fire Department had responded to 27 fires as of Friday morning during November and 13 of them have been at vacant structures, IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith said.

“November has already been a busy month,” Reith said. “We seem to have a lot of reports of people seeking shelter in these vacant structures… We just don’t want anyone to get injured. All eyes on the city, all eyes on your neighborhood, and call 911 if you see people going in and out.”

Friday, three firefighters were injured while fighting a blaze on the 200 block of South Warman Avenue at a vacant home.

Just three weeks ago, three other firefighters were also injured fighting a fire at a vacant home on Ketchum Street.

"The inside of these structures are not always safe as people may think. When people aren’t living in them, they can be dangerous places not only for squatters to be in, but also for us to try to mitigate a fire if they tried to set a fire inside to stay warm,” Reith said.

Firefighters are urging the public to report any squatters they see entering into vacant buildings around town this winter.

“We’re asking everyone to be pretty vigilant, if you see anything, call IMPD, call 911, let them know there are people going in and out of these structures,” Reith said.

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