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Several families displaced after intentionally set fire destroys an Indianapolis apartment complex

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 22:46:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents of a far east side Indianapolis apartment complex are furious their homes have been destroyed after a fire started late at night Thursday, June 27. Doorbell video appears to show a boy setting the fire on purpose, and police say a juvenile is under arrest.

Less than an hour after RTV6 pressed the Indianapolis Fire Department for answers about the video, IFD announced a break in the case.

A week and one day after the Stonybrook Commons apartment complex was in flames, Kierra Sherron, gave RTV6 a look at what is left. Sherron lived in the first-floor unit with her three young kids and her boyfriend, who has quadriplegia.

When asked if anything was left from the fire, Sherron said no.

"I was able to salvage maybe a couple of medical equipment that I use for my boyfriend but other than that no," she said.

Andrea Parker was also salvaging what she could from her home on Friday, and she says the apartment management offered little help.

"On Wednesday night they told us we had until today [Friday] to get out; knowing that they are closed on the 4th of July," Parker said. "So they gave us one day, and no resources to vacate the premises."

The apartments are no longer livable for families, and residents only have a few more days to pick up what's left of their belongings after the fire. Apartment Management says come Monday, remediation crews will be dumping what's left of these apartments into bins.

None of the 20 people who lived in the complex were injured in the fire. Even though the residents say, the smoke alarms were not working.

"The fire alarms, none of the smoke alarms in the building went off, no fire alarms, no smoke alarms, my son actually only knew there was a fire because he smelled the smoke," Parker explained. "The smoke was getting so heavy, so that is what made him get up to look - to even see, because no smoke alarms were ringing off in the whole building. Luckily there was a young lady that lives in the complex that was out walking her dog that alarmed some of the people to the fire to help get them out."

Investigators suspect the fire was intentionally set and a juvenile was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with the case.

The video (in the media player above) from Parker's security system outside her apartment door shows young boys lighting something on fire, while Parker's son and his girlfriend were inside.

Parker has a message for the boys in the video:

"I would like them to look — and take a good look — at what they caused to all the families, displacing them, and, like my case, I lost everything; pictures of my family, things I can't retrieve," Parker said. "I can never have back again. And to think, look at my son, you know you could have killed him, he had to jump off the balcony, he was face to face with a fire because you wanted to behave in this manner. What did you get from it? Did you, what did you gain? Nothing."

Apartment management told RTV6 they would accommodate residents who need more time to get their belongings from damaged apartments.

Marion County Codes and Ordinances say it's up to management to install working smoke detectors and maintain them. Tenants are responsible for monthly tests to make sure they're working. However, resident who spoke with RTV6 says there haven't been any maintenance workers to respond to those issues.

As for the smoke alarms in the hallways and common areas of the complex, management says they were not aware of any problems, and they're waiting on a final report from fire investigators.

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