Crews battle house fire in Beech Grove; 2 firefighters injured


BEECH GROVE, Ind. – Two firefighters were injured while battling a fire in Beech Grove Tuesday morning.

According to IFD, one firefighter is in serious condition after falling off the roof. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

“Additional testing and information provided found that he did sustain some serious injury,” said IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

Reith confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the firefighter’s injuries are serious, but he is expected to survive.

A second firefighter suffered minor injuries after falling from the main floor to the basement. He was treated on scene and released.

Crews were called around 6 a.m. to 95 S 4th Ave. in Beech Grove for an apartment fire. The home is divided into multiple apartments.

All eight occupants were safely accounted for, IFD said.

Neighbor Marcia Cleary said one of the residents suffered a loss no gift card or donation could replace.

“My friend Ralph is a retired Marine,” she said. “He served in Vietnam, and he has lost all of his Marine memorabilia. How do I know this is important? Because I’m the daughter, the grandmother, and the mother of a Marine.

“I know what it would mean if I lost my Marine memorabilia. It would kill me. It would absolutely kill me. You can’t replace that. You simply can’t replace that.”

Residents in the basement apartment told firefighters they woke up to fire and smoke in their apartment. They attempted to extinguish it but were unsuccessful and escaped, according to IFD.

Smoke alarms alerted other residents to the fire. 

However, according to Cleary, her friend Ralph was the one who alerted other residents on his floor to the fire.

“At some point, he must have awakened and discovered it was on fire. He got he and his wife out, then he notified all of the others, so he saved all their lives.

“I know he’s a marine, and he’s tough,” Cleary said. “Adjust, adapt. Failure’s not an option, but right now, they’re going to have to start over.”

The fire remains under investigation. IFD said it would take some time to determine the cause because there is about three feet of water in the basement.

Neighbors said they will now do whatever they can to help those impacted by Tuesday’s fire.

According to Cleary, some neighbors Tuesday had already offered to assist with clothing, a place to stay or gift cards.

“It’s just so sad being so close to the holidays for all of these families to be out of a home,” said neighbor Emily Duncan. “My heart goes out to everybody.”

“As soon as this happened, I thought, ‘I’m going to go to my storage unit and look through clothes and see if they need anything,’ because that’s what Beech Grove people do. We pull together,” she said.

Cleary said, “This neighborhood will do the right thing and help these people.”

“I’m just grateful that none of these people were hurt physically, but emotionally, we’ve been through a lot this year with COVID,” said Cleary. “2020 could not have been any worse.”

According to IFD, one dog remains unaccounted for.

“I hope they find the dog because I would hate for a pet to be lost too,” said Duncan. “That always breaks my heart.”

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