Woman, child die after house fire on near east side

INDIANAPOLIS - A near east side house fire turned deadly Thursday, claiming the lives of a woman and child, as well as two dogs, Indianapolis Fire Department officials said.

Firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire just after 10:30 a.m. on the 400 block of South Oakland Avenue.

A woman and child were initially reported in critical condition from the fire. They both later died of their injuries.

Officials said a family of five lived in the house, which is rented. Neighbors told firefighters that a couple with three children was living at the home, but two of the children were at school.

"We found that out and even my fiancée we just all started crying, I mean just to think that we just saw them the other day, you know," said neighbor Britney Contreras. 

Firefighters are now looking into how the fire started. Early rumors of a space heater malfunction turned out to be unfounded, IFD said. The house did had a working smoke detector, but the battery was not properly installed.

"There was a smoke detector that could have awakened the mother and it had been disabled," said IFD's Bonnie Hensley.

Investigators were still combing through the house Thursday night looking for clues to the origin of the deadly blaze.

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