INDIANAPOLIS - Friends of a Carmel father and son are speaking out about their tragic deaths following a house fire that broke out Thursday morning.
James Shiel, 26, was pronounced dead on Friday at Eskenazi Health. His 2-year-old son, Andrew, died from injuries sustained in the fire on Saturday morning at Riley Hospital for Children.
“He was a great dad and loved his son very much, more than most people I know,” said Andi Wilson, a friend and next door neighbor. “He played with his son every moment that he had. That’s all I ever saw them doing was laughing and enjoying themselves.”
The fire was reported at 6:30 a.m. Thursday on the 900 block of Auman Drive East in Carmel.
Fire investigators believe pinched electrical wires behind a desk may have caused the fire, which ignited the curtains and spread through the house.
A neighbor who was leaving for work noticed the fire coming from the front of the house.
Wilson said neighbors tried but could not get inside the burning house.
Firefighters with the Carmel Fire Department arrived and searched the house for victims. The two Shiels were found in the kitchen and taken to Indiana University North Hospital before they were transferred to Indianapolis hospitals.
“My heart breaks for the family,” said Wilson. “Our hearts are broken, but they are nowhere near experiencing the pain the family is feeling. We are very sorry it happened and are grateful to have known them.”
Officials said there were no smoke detectors in the house.
Wilson and family members thanked the firefighters for their efforts.
“The firemen were excellent, and they did everything they could,” said Wilson.
The city of Carmel released a statement saying James Shiel’s vital organs were donated, which benefitted three people.
“They were wonderful people and were truly a blessing,” said Wilson. “You can only hope God is working here and there is a purpose (for their death).”