INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two autistic children were killed and four other people were injured when they were caught in a fire Monday in the Indianapolis condominium, authorities said.
The boys, ages 8 and 10, lived in the building in Cumberland, on the eastern edge of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Fire Department said in a news release.
Neighbor Raymond Alvarez told reporters he was on his way to work when he heard somebody screaming and saw flames in the building's hallway. He said he helped lead two boys to safety and tried to find a fire extinguisher.
"I went and grabbed my ladder, tried to bust an upstairs window to try to get in to help them," Alvarez said. "It was already too hot and smoke coming out the windows."
Fire Department spokesman Jason Kistler said a 38-year-old woman was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Two 19-year-old men and an 11-year-old boy went to hospitals in stable condition. Kistler said the woman is believed to be the mother of four of the children.
Cumberland Police Chief Michael Crooke said at least two autistic children lived at the condominium and that one of those boys had wandered away from the home a couple of weeks ago.
"The mom had told us previously about he would sometimes take face plates off the electrical outlets, so we're definitely looking at that as a possible means for origin for this fire," Crooke told WRTV-TV.
Damage to the unit was estimated at $200,000, Battalion Chief John Walker said. Three other nearby units had slight smoke damage, officials said.
It was not clear whether there were working smoke detectors in the residence.