Indiana Firefighters Rescue Children Locked in Room

Updated: 12-12-2007 11:55:15 AM

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Police and child welfare officials are trying to determine why two children were locked inside their bedroom before firefighters rescued them from their burning home, a fire official said.

The bedroom door was locked on the outside, keeping the 3- and 4-year-old children inside as a fire burned the home in the 3500 block of West 12th Street on Monday night, Indianapolis fire Capt. Gregg Harris said.

When firefighters arrived at the home, a man who had been baby-sitting the children met them outside and told them the kids still were inside, officials said.

Firefighters rescued the children, who were taken to a hospital in serious condition.

After they extinguished the fire, firefighters saw the home was filthy and littered with feces, Harris said. The city's fire department called police and child welfare workers, and the children were put into state custody.

"I can't find any reason why children of that age would be locked in a room," Harris said. "When we encounter those things, we're going to do the right thing -- we're going to call in law enforcement and take the appropriate action.

"That type of activity shouldn't go on, and no child should be subjected to that type of treatment."

Harris said the conditions in the home "were not what I would want my family or any other children to be involved in."

"So, quite naturally we have called in child protective services and (the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department), and they are going to investigate this on a different level," Harris said.

The fire began when a space heater in the basement ignited the cardboard on which the heater had been placed, officials said. The cause was ruled accidental.

The children were said to be doing well Tuesday afternoon, 6News' Jack Rinehart. Details on their injuries and whether they still were in a hospital weren't available.

The baby sitter suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire, officials said.