Two Killed, Eight Rescued in Indy Apartment Fire

INDIANAPOLIS --

A woman and her 2-year-old son were killed in an apartment building fire Wednesday night on Indianapolis' east side that was intentionally set, officials said.

The victims were identified Thursday as Jessica Cole, 20, and Amerian Cole, 2.

Four additional people, including an Indianapolis firefighter, were hurt after the blaze broke out at about 9:15 p.m. at the Nottingham Village apartments in the 9200 block of East 21st Street, near Post Road and Interstate 70.

"The crew from Ladder 20 found the mother and her … child in a third-floor apartment, in the bathtub," said Indianapolis fire Capt. Rita Burris. "It appeared that the mother and child climbed into the tub and turned on the water, which quickly filled the tub."

Both victims died on the way to Methodist Hospital.

"He was just a beautiful baby," said Alma Bryant, Amerian's great aunt. "He was a beautiful baby."

When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the building and several people were trapped on balconies.

Some of the victims jumped from their balconies to avoid the flames and smoke. Eight people were rescued from balconies.

Firefighters said they brought the blaze under control within about 20 minutes. They had difficulty battling the fire initially, because a fire hydrant near the scene didn't work.

Investigators said the blaze began in a first-floor hallway and quickly spread to the third floor.

"My family was running out," said Katheryn Washington. "The people across the balcony, they couldn't get down."

Police asked anyone with information about who may have set the fire to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

"You just hurt a bunch of families," Bryant said, referring to the arsonist. "Please, don't do this again. You don't understand what you just did. You tore up a family, several families."

Twelve apartments were damaged in the blaze, with 12 more in the same building likely salvageable, Burris said. Damage was estimated at $1 million.

The four people who were hurt suffered injuries that weren't life-threatening.

There were at least three previous fires at the same apartment complex earlier this year, including one that heavily damaged a vacant building there.

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