Critically Injured Girl, Man Lauded as Heroes in Indianapolis Fire

A father and his 7-year-old niece pulled six people, including four children, to safety.


INDIANAPOLIS --

Six people, including four children, are fortunate to have survived a mobile home fire early Sunday morning on Indianapolis' southwest side in which a father and his 7-year-old niece pulled everyone to safety.

All of the victims were hospitalized. The 7-year-old girl suffered the worst of the injuries, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported. She was in critical condition at Riley Hospital for Children Sunday evening with severe smoke inhalation and burns.

The adults, Brian Cook and Crystal Cook, and their 2-year-old daughter were released from the hospital on Sunday. The Cooks' two sons -- a 4-year-old and an 11-month-old -- remained hospitalized. They were listed in good condition Monday morning.

The 7-year-old girl was staying overnight at her aunt and uncle's home, in the Highland Estates Mobile Home Park, near Mann Road, when the fire began at about 3 a.m.

Brian Cook was awakened by screams from one of the children and made sure everyone got out of the home, including his pregnant wife. He went back into the home several times to retrieve the victims.

Neighbors said the 7-year-old helped by pulling the youngest child out of the burning home.

"The one little girl that was running around ... got her arms burned pulling a baby out of the crib," said Jeff Hepworth. "She's a little hero."

"He stayed pretty calm the whole time. He just kept on running in and getting the kids," said Krystal Basey. "He didn't break down and cry until after he got all the kids out."

Three of the children were sleeping in the front bedroom, where the fire started, Spencer reported. Investiagtors ruled the fire was an accident, and that a space heater in that room might have sparked the blaze.

Investigators said the home was equipped with a working smoke detector.

Neighbors gave the victims the shoes off their feet and the coats off their backs.

"The residents here at the park were all grabbing blankets and coats and (asking) who's got shoes that fit who," Hepworth said.

Managers at the mobile home park are soliciting donations for clothes for the children. The family did not have insurance, Spencer reported.

Donations can be sent to :

The mobile home park can be contacted at 317-248-1708.

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