INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A fire broke out at a group home just after midnight Friday morning, leaving 10 women displaced. From the outside, you wouldn’t be able to tell a fire kicked up inside the Safe Haven Group Home on the near northeast side of Indianapolis.
“As I’m going to the back I see flames, so I’m like ‘fire, fire, fire, everybody get out, everybody get out,’” said resident Ayrica Briley.
She quickly sprang into action after the smoke alarm went off. She woke up the other ladies and immediately ran to help an elderly woman escape. Briley says she considers all of the women family.
“Safe Haven is a boarding home for the mentally challenged. We feed them, we do transportation, we really do daily living everything with them,” said owner Regina Allen.
Allen started the group home in 2007 after realizing women with mental illnesses need more assistance.
“I just jumped out there on good faith, no resources, no anything. Just me, my daughter, my husband, friends, and family,” said Allen.
With little to no resources, she often finds a hard time making ends meet.
“I know it’s from my heart because in the beginning I wasn’t making a lot of money and I’m still not making a lot of money, still making my ends meet. But I try to make sure everything is ok and alright for them and I try to make sure they have even if I don’t have,” said Allen.
Her hard work, time and money are the reasons she’s so emotional that this fire has put a halt on things temporarily.
Although fire officials say that fire was contained to one room, the other eight rooms upstairs experienced heavy smoke and water damage. The walls were once white, but are now discolored, covered in soot.
Briley has been at the home for three years and calls it home.
“This is really like my home, like a lot of us consider this home. A lot of the ladies don’t know any place else. This is all they know, even the ones that haven’t been here that long, it’s become a home. It feels like home,” she said.
The women are grateful it was only their belongings the fire took.
“People lost their pictures, their memories of their loved ones, their clothes, family heirlooms, things that they’ve had in the family for generations, it’s gone,” said Briley.
Just hours after the fire, they are already looking towards the future and rebuilding.
“I think it’s just a setback, God has got bigger and greater things for me I already know. It ain’t called Safe Haven for nothing,” said Allen.
Allen has placed all 10 of the women who were displaced in temporary housing at other locations. They are also receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.
If you would like to donate to the group home, reach out to the owner Regina Allen at (317) 599-6011.