Hammond, Indiana father Andre Young lost three of his five children to a house fire caused by a space heater connected to a propane tank. Young had set up the heater after his landlord shut off the heat and electric service to the property.
Last week, Andre Young and his family were struggling to keep warm during what meteorologists called “the polar vortex.” According to a neighbor, conditions in the Young house had been “dire” for months, but as the temperature dropped, the family had no choice but to resort to extreme measures.
According to authorities, the fire was caused by a space heater connected to a propane tank.
City records indicate that Real Estate Equity Solutions of Indiana, LLC had turned off electric and gas service to the property months ago, and had been fined $2,600 for doing so. The company was also being investigated for refusing to allow inspectors on to the property.
“We were a week away from getting an order from the court so we could go in,” City Attorney Kristina Kantar told The Chicago Tribune. “Obviously, if our inspectors found people living there without water or power or heat, we would not let them stay there.”
Witnesses claim that after the fire started, Andre Young ran back into the flaming structure, yelling “Everybody get out! Get out! My babies! My babies!” He was able to save two of his children, but three others died in the fire.