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Fire officials have a message following deadly Sunday fire

lucille raines residence fatal fire.jpg
Posted at 11:11 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 23:33:51-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Following the death of a woman on Sunday in a fire at the Lucille Raines Residence in downtown Indianapolis, fire officials are speaking about the dangers of running into a burning building.

Sara Holt, 41, died Sunday according to the Marion County Coroners Office after a fire at the building. The coroner's office did not release an exact cause of death however.

"All I have heard is that she went in and out twice," Carolyn Marshall, Executive Director of The Lucille Raines Residence said.

The fire broke out early Sunday morning at the apartment building at North Pennsylvania and East 9th Street.

The Lucille Raines Residence exists as a step after treatment for people needing some extra time to get back on their feet.

"We are that last step after treatment and even probably like a halfway house," Marshall said. "Where folks deal with issues of recovery and dealing with society."

The Lucille Raines Residence is operated by the United Methodist Women of Indiana. Dedicated to helping residents who are in recovery get back on their feet.

"Paying bills, paying rent. Just general good living," Marshall said.

Marshall said a resident, who just happened to be up around 4:30 a.m., noticed the thick cloud of smoke. He went to see where it was coming from and saw that it was coming from Sara Holt's apartment.

"Once they got that fire knocked down they did locate a victim inside that apartment," Rita Reith, Battalion Chief of the Indianapolis Fire Department said. "And according to residents, that was the person who lived in that apartment."

Reith said witnesses told IFD they saw Holt go back into the apartment twice. That second time she went back in she couldn’t make it out.

"That toxic smoke will render you unconscious within minutes," Reith said. "So that's the part where we encourage anyone who has a fire in their home, apartment, their business or any place where a fire breaks out — just evacuate the structure and stay out."

"Was she after a child? No. Was she after a pet? I won't say no one has ever snuck a pet in, but as far as I know, there aren't any," Marshall said.

Multiple residents spoke Tuesday, saying the residents of the building view themselves as a family. And Holt had the sweetest personality that made them complete.

"It's hard to know why she did that, but God loves her, and we hope that everybody that is affected by her loss is healing," Reith said.

Marshall said there was heavy smoke damage to the fourth floor of the building. And the locks on about 50 units were knocked out. She said they had to move some residents around, but as of Tuesday night, they all have a roof over their heads.