Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 10, 2012

Fire ravages westside apartment building

Bart Doan

INDIANAPOLIS — A fire on the westside of Indianapolis claimed the life of a 7 year old boy and ravaged an apartment building early Saturday morning.

Authorities say about 16 people were in the small apartment building at 1833 W. Washington St. when the fire started at about 3:30 a.m. Most were asleep at the time.

Witnesses reported hearing the residents screaming for help and seeing some jump from the second story windows. One family reported tossed a baby from the second floor to someone on the ground.

Smoke and fire were so thick that Dreybon Webb’s mother was unable to get to him. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived ahead of firefighters and also attempted to rescue the boy, but were unsuccessful. By the time firefighters recovered him, it was too late.

Authorities say there were no working smoke detectors in the building.

Bryan Fleck of the Indy Fire Rescue House, which aids people affected by fire tragedies, said that should not happen.

“The thing that I’ve taken away from this, aside from the tragedy, is that there were no working smoke detectors in the area where the child died, and that’s unacceptable and we’ll be working forward to launch a fire safety campaign involving smoke detectors,” Fleck said.

IFRH leadership and volunteers are putting together an assistance fund for Dreybon’s family in hopes of offsetting some of the funeral costs.

Fleck said the IFRH started in September of 2011. A house was donated to the group and is currently housing a family that suffered from another recent apartment fire.

In regards to this past weekend’s fire, he said they’re trying to help as much as they can.

“We’ve had contact with two of the families,” Fleck said. “Sometimes when it happens in the middle of the night, people scatter, and it’s hard to even find the people that need help. Later (today) I’m getting some clothes and toiletries and general assistance items and I’m going to go by and drop them off by (another victim’s) work. And then we’re working with the family of the child who lost his life to make sure their child gets properly buried.”

He added that some of the displaced residents from the fire are staying at the IFRH shelter.

For more information or to donate, visit the website at www.indyfrh.org/donate.html.

The fire is still under investigation.