Mother, son killed in Southern Indiana apartment fire
MADISON, Ind. (WAVE) - Investigators are trying to determine the cause of an apartment fire that killed a Southern Indiana mother and her son in Madison.
The fire was reported around 11:30 p.m. Monday in the 2800 block of Windridge Drive. Emergency crews said it was “well involved” when they arrived on the scene.
After being told people were still inside the apartment, firefighters tried to get into the building to find them but were hampered by the building’s structural integrity. When they did get in, Cindy Geerts, 41, and her son were found dead.
The Geerts family confirmed their identities to WAVE 3 News. Cindy Geerts was said to use a wheelchair.
15-year-old Jamie Hensley, Conner’s cousin and Cindy’s nephew, described the moment his father told him what happened.
“He said, ‘Bub, I’m sorry, but Connor and Cindy died last night in a tragic fire,’ and I broke down in tears because that was like a brother to me,” Hensley said. “It’s just a whole bunch of emotions because me and him had a bunch of good times in there, and Cindy always sat down there and we watched crime movies together.”
The family’s neighbor Shelly Dierkes was also in shock Tuesday.
“Losing neighbors is not a good feeling,” Dierkes said. “Watching it burn (now) knowing there were two people inside killed me.”
Dierkes’ unit wasn’t affected by the fire, but she has been in her neighbors’ shoes before. Her said her house burned down in 2003.
Chester Brown, who lived in the building that caught fire, assessed the damage in his unit Tuesday afternoon.
“You can see where the roof is collapsed, but it wraps all the way down here, and if you go into my doorway, you can see where they tore the roof and ceiling out to make sure it didn’t spread out,” Brown said as he described firefighters’ efforts to contain the blaze.
Brown told WAVE 3 News it could be three weeks before he, his fiancé and two children can find another place to live.
“(I’ll be) living in my van, I guess,” he said. “It’s just going to be another hoop I have to jump through.”
Meanwhile, Hensley will try to process the pain of losing two members of his family.
“They were both loving and caring, and they were really amazing, so I just miss them a whole bunch, and I wish it wasn’t like this,” Hensley said.
To help Cindy and Conner’s family, donations may be made to Morgan & Nay Funeral Centre.
The Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, the Indiana State Marshall’s Office and the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire.
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