By Chris Meehan
A fire in Indianapolis has severely damaged an abandoned house next door to a home owned by members of the South Side Christians in Mission team. The fire was part of a wave of 10 fires that struck the city the night of May 9, killing one person in Fountain Square (a neighborhood several miles away from the CIM houses). Authorities confirmed that arsonists set at least seven of the fires.
David Zimmel, head of the CIM team, says that the CIM house was not damaged. “The Lord protected us,” David says. “No one was inside the burning house and no one was living in the house we own next door to it. Our nearby properties weren’t harmed.”
The 120-year old house had been abandoned years ago. The yard was overgrown and the windows and doors boarded up.
Around 1:00 a.m. Monday morning, a neighbor had awakened CIM team members Ray and Robin Gonzalez, who live nearby, warning them to move their cars. Ray then called Paul Hommes to warn the men’s household. “If the fire had gone on 10 more minutes or the wind had changed direction, we would have had flames licking at our house,” Paul says.
CIM team members appeared in several TV news reports about the fires. “Fires like this only highlight the need for Christian community on the South Side,” David says. “They give us a sense of urgency and a renewed commitment to what we’re doing. With help from our Action volunteers, we’ve already renovated seven older homes that would have been good candidates for a fire like this before. We’re eager to continue working hard to build a stronger, safer neighborhood.”
Watch Indianapolis TV coverage.