Seymour woman injured in house fire

A Seymour woman sustained second- and third-degree burns in a fire that destroyed the home she shared with another woman late Wednesday on the city’s east side.

Rita Phillips of 301 S. Park St. was hospitalized after the fire reported at 11:47 p.m. but was released sometime Thursday morning and was staying with friends.

Phillips, however, was going to have to go to a burn center in Indianapolis for additional treatment of her injuries, her brother, Brian Phillips, said.

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Fire Chief Brad Lucas said the fire, which caused an estimated $85,000 in damages to the structure and its contents, has been ruled accidental. The home is owned by Jerry Ballard.

He said the fire was likely caused by smoking materials, according to what Rita Phillips told police.

Brian Phillips said the outcome of the fire could have been a lot worse.

His girlfriend, Anna Lopez, agreed and said Michelle Helt, who was in a back room of the house, helped save Rita Phillips.

“When it caught on fire, Rita went in there yelling, ‘The house is on fire,’ and Rita was trying to get her dogs out, and the house was all blazing,” Lopez said. “And (Helt) had to grab her and pull her out of there. (Rita) had to thank God for her.”

Rita Phillips’ neighbor, Woodrow Stanton, said his mother was the first to notice the fire and told him the house was on fire.

“I thought it was our house,” he said.

He said flames were shooting out of a window of Phillips’ house that faced his house at 307 S. Park St.

“I was the one who called 911,” he said.

When he went outside, Stanton said he didn’t see anyone and thought the worst about Phillips and Helt.

“The next thing I know, I saw Rita,” he said. “She came over and sat down on our steps. She was shocked.”

Stanton said she was more worried about her dogs than herself.

The blaze melted the siding on the north side of Stanton’s home, and a window will need to be replaced, he said.

Lucas said firefighters from all three stations were sent to the scene. None of them were injured while fighting the fire.

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Anyone wishing to help the people affected by Wednesday night’s fire at 301 S. Park St., Seymour, may call 812-707-0655 or 812-680-4333.