Thursday, November 15, 2012

Richmond Hills residents to media: Give us space

The Indianapolis Fire Department tonight passed along a message from residents of Richmond Hills affected by the explosion for the media to give them space.  Here's the message:

Please Stop all unauthorized attempts to contact us via our phones and email. Please Stop approaching our contractors and insurance agents asking them to contact you so you can do an interview or enter our homes.

Please stop contacting our family members and friends for access to us. We are asking that you please stop approaching us every time we leave a meeting or try and enter our neighborhood. We collectively and as a majority do not want you in our neighborhood at this time.

This week we suffered a catastrophic tragedy that has impacted us deeply. We are trying to heal and find some space and we feel that you are disrespecting our privacy. We need time to process and begin to re-build our lives. In time we may be prepared to tell our story but for now, we are hurting are feeling harassed.

If we have not contacted you for an interview, Please do NOT attempt to contact us at this time. We do appreciate the effort on your behalf to tell the story of our tragic event, but we feel the boundary lines have been crossed on a personal level and we are asking you to cease and desist. Thank you for respecting our boundaries, and our right to tell you no.

Sincerely, the affected residents of Richmond Hills

Monday, January 31, 2011

Indianapolis manhole covers blow in mystery explosion

From IFD's Rita Buris:

Firefighters from IFD Station 7 were dispatched at 6:36 am (1/30/11) to  401 E Michigan Street for a report of a gas odor.  Located across the street from this address, Station 7 arrived within a minute and were investigating the odor.   Much to their surprise, at 6:38 am a manhole cover located across the street (on sidewalk at Michigan/New Jersey)  blew, and with such significant force as to wake the other firefighters still at the station.   Flames were visible from the manhole for sometime before they extinguished.

Within a minute, a second manhole cover blew, this one located next to the Athenaeum up against the building on New Jersey St.  This explosion took out one Athenaeum window, some brick and blew apart the manhole structure leaving a gaping hole of dirt, in the ground.  Firefighters took steps to move out of the way and began backing fire equipment out of the area as well.  As they were backing Engine 7 up New Jersey, a third manhole cover blew, this one located in the intersection of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Michigan, hitting the underside of the engine and breaking a side light.  According to firefighters, the safety plate underneath the engine did its job…(the manhole cover hit the plate)  and  no significant damage was done to the Engine. 

Although IFD Firefighters witnessed three of the manhole covers, IMPD officers report 2 additional covers off their bases in the area.  They are unsure whether or not they are in addition to or a result of the three earlier.

Indianapolis Power and Light was on the scene within minutes and advised firefighters to stay clear of the area until they could get more IPL crews to the scene.  Unsure as to what caused the explosions IPL advised a wait and see mode for everyone so that no one would be injured. Citizen’s Gas is on the scene as well and both companies are working together to try and make a determination as to cause. 

At 8:30, firefighters did enter some of the buildings along Massachusetts Ave, as well as the Athenaeum, to check for gas odor but found nothing significant. 

16 IFD units responded to the scene and no injuries were reported.  No evacuations were ordered of the area and some roads will be closed until cleared by the utility companies.  At this time One Block in every direction at New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts are still closed as of 8:40 am.

Once the investigation is concluded, any more information about the cause and investigation should be obtained from IPL and/or Citizen’s Gas.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rash of Fires Hit Vacant Homes in Indianapolis

IFD/IMPD Fire Investigators were out on another vacant house fire this evening, reports IFD Capt. Rita L. Reith. Authorities estimate that in the last month they have run on approximately 20 house fires in vacant residences. While some of them are ruled malicious, most they say are “warming fires” started by homeless who seek shelter in these boarded up homes. Firefighters responding to these fires are worried that someone is going to get hurt..and they hope it’s not one of them.

Shortly before 8 pm this evening, firefighters were dispatched to the area of 10th and Tacoma for a house fire. Upon arrival, Engine 27 reported Heavy fire coming from the rear of a two story, wood frame double residence. This is the 3rd time since July that this same house has been set on fire. 12 IFD units responded to this fire and shut down several blocks of 10th street in the 2400 block area for about 2 hours. Firefighters made a quick interior attack on the fire but worry that the continued compromised integrity of the house will cause one them to get injured while fighting the fire. Large holes in the floors, burned out staircases and weakened roof structures all make for treacherous ground inside the burning structure.

Residents who live in the area are scared and angry. They say that homeless people make their way into the home, regardless of the boarded up doors and windows. Gary and Dana Bohannon, live next to the house with their two young sons and their dog Indy..a pit boxer mix. They had to evacuate their home this evening, in bare feet, as the flames from the residence next door, less than 10 feet away, threatened their home. They say they are mad that careless fires are being set for warmth. Gary noticed the large volume of flame as he was walking back home from an errand. He ran inside and told his wife and sons to get out of the house. This is the third time they have stood outside and watched, hoping it didn’t damage their house.

Another issue firefighters dealt with as they fought this fire was a gentleman who carelessly drove over the supply line to the fire hydrant causing it to split and water pressure to the hose lines affected. While every attempt is made by both firefighters and IMPD to get the streets secured in a timely fashion, sometimes people drive over the hose with disregard for firefighter safety. The supply hoses that firefighters lay to hydrants are not built to withstand the friction and pressure of an automobile driving over it. They are clearly visible, with their bright yellow covering and should never, ever be driven over. In this case, another citizen who witnessed the car driving over the hose, got the drivers information and turned it over to IMPD.

The Indianapolis Fire Department would like to remind everyone to be alert for anyone trespassing into these vacant homes and setting fires. While the need for warmth as the weather grows colder is certainly understood, we do not want anyone to get hurt by the careless setting of fires inside a home. Please call crime stoppers at 262-tips and let them know if you see any suspicious activity. Firefighters had the fire under control in about 15 minutes and no injuries were reported. According to Battalion Chief Dave Harris, the damage is estimated at $10,000.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Car Punches Hole in House While Woman Sleeps

From the IFD: Winnie Withers who lives at 8604 E 37th Place woke up this morning to her dog "Bear" barking only to find an 8 by 8 foot hole in the East side of her one story brick ranch home. Sometime after she went to sleep last night and before she awoke this morning, someone drove into the side of her home and left. A Hit and Run. No one in the home was injured and damage is estimated at 15,000 dollars. Ms. Withers stated that she did not hear or see anything until a neighbor knocked on her door to see if she was ok after noticing the hole. Ms. Withers states the hole sits where her kitchen is, and had she been awake she would have probably been sitting at the desk located there. IMPD on the scene says that the vehicle was heading West on Dewberry when it left the road, went across the street into her yard, glanced off a large tree and into the East wall of the house. They then backed up and left. Due to the magnitude of the impact they assume extensive damage to the car, airbag deployment and possible injury to the driver. The house is uninhabitable at this time and IFD Victims Assistance was called. However, Ms. Withers will be staying with someone at her church tonight. IFD'S Collapse Rescue Team (CRT) was called out to stabilize the structure.

Regarding the earlier run at 8604 E 37th Pl. Ms. Withers awoke at approximately 7:40 am. It is unclear at what she went to bed last evening. IFD was dispatched at 8:01 am. Also the correct spelling of the street is Dubarry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fire Rages in Abandoned Home on Linwood Avenue

From the IFD: Heavy fire showing from the north side of a two story double greeted firefighters upon arrival at 338 N Linwood Ave this evening shortly after 11:30 pm. Firefighters from Station 27 encountered holes in the floor, fire that ran from the basement to the attic and debris 4 feet thick as they fought this fire. Neighbors in the area believe the house to be vacant however they said that people are in and out of the house at all hours of the night. Many are believed to be homeless according to a gentleman that lives a couple doors down. It took an aggressive interior attack by firefighters about 20 minutes to get this fire under control. Houses located on both sides of the double, about 10-15 feet away each, were kept out of fire danger as dedicated water streams on both sides kept the exposures clear. Neighbors worry that the burned house will now be a blight on the neighborhood and firefighters say that houses such as this with so much debris are a danger to firefighters that may have to return here on another call. No injuries were reported on this fire. According to Battalion Chief Joe Krebsbach, damage is estimated at 40,000 dollars. IFD/IMPD fire investigative units are on the scene trying to determine cause and origin.