Hope man dies in house fire

Mark Webber | The Republic A Hope man died in a Tuesday morning house fire at this home at 152 Schaeffer Drive.

HOPE — A Hope man died Tuesday morning in a house fire in the Goshen Meadows subdivision.

The victim was identified as Thomas Clark, 61, of 152 Schaeffer Drive, Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said. A forensic autopsy is planned in the case, Nolting said.

When the fire was first reported to 911 emergency dispatchers at 10:23 a.m., there were conflicting reports about what was visible inside the three bedroom, one-story house.

One first-responder told dispatchers he could not see any smoke. But a few minutes later, another reported seeing a fire inside the residence. Several first responders reported they were having difficulty finding a way into the home through the door or window.

A second resident who had escaped the fire with his 5-month-old child advised that an older male was still inside the bedroom on the southwest side of the house, Hope Town Marshal and volunteer firefighter Matt Tallent said.

Officers who had attempted to gain entry into the bedroom were overcome by smoke, Tallent said. One person received medical treatment as a precaution, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Steinkoenig said.

Emergency workers knocked out a window with an air conditioning unit on the southwest side of the house to gain entry.

Although firefighters were able to pull Clark from the residence, he was pronounced dead at the scene after resuscitation efforts were attempted, Tallent said.

While Schaeffer Drive winds its way through the subdivision, the stretch near the home was closed off to traffic while emergency workers were on the scene. Family members went to the scene after the fire was reported.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. An investigation continues by the Hope Police Department, Hope Fire Department and Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies, along with the coroner’s office. Others involved in trying to determine what caused the fire are the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office and Bartholomew County Fire Inspector Gene Wever.

Damage estimates were not available. Online property records show the 1,248 square foot home was built in 1980.