Firefighters battle condo blaze on Indianapolis' far-east side

2 children killed, 4 others injured

INDIANAPOLIS - Kids playing with matches might have sparked a fire that killed two children in a Cumberland condo Monday morning, a source familiar with the investigation told RTV6.

The fire broke out just after 9 a.m. at the Raintree Commons Condominiums at 12010 E. Welland St., near Washington Street and German Church Road, in Cumberland.

Two children were confirmed dead at the scene. The deceased children have been tentatively identified as Genesis Eppert, 9, and Forrest Eppert, 8.

The children's mother, Stephanie Eppert, 39, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Dominic Eppert, 11, Marc Benton, 19, and a 19-year-old Good Samaritan who tried to help rescue the family are all in good condition at the hospital.

Neighbors said a Stephanie Eppert and her four children, three of whom are autistic, lived in the condo.

"I'm devastated," said Kelly Hawkins, a friend of the Eppert family. "Stephanie is the most wonderful mom... she was totally completely devoted to her kids. Every minute of every day was for them, and my heart goes out to them."

Witnesses tried to help the victims get out of the burning home.

"The window that was busted out over there was filled with smoke, and there was smoke coming out from the top," one witness said.

"The guy was telling me that his brother and sister were still inside the house, and I ran and grabbed my ladder and tried to get in an upstairs window and help them, but the flames were already coming out, and I couldn't do anything else," neighbor Raymond Alvarez said.

The fire was reported to be out by 10 a.m.

Though playing with matches is the suspected cause of the blaze, officials are still investigating.

Habitat for Humanity leaders said the Eppert family, who rented the condo, were set to move into their very own home in a few weeks.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

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