A two-year-old child died Thursday afternoon and a woman was seriously injured when a fire erupted at a residence at a Northwest Indiana mobile home park, according to fire officials.
Firefighters were called at approximately 2:30 p.m. to the Ravinia Pines Mobile Home Community in New Chicago where "intense flames" engulfed a mobile home, New Chicago Fire Chief Evin Eakins said.
The mother was found inside a back bedroom and airlifted to the University of Chicago Medical Center where her condition was unknown as of late Thursday evening.
One neighbor, Mark Nibbe, watched as the child's father returned home from work to find his home in flames.
"He was going all around the trailer, banging on everything he could bang on, panicking," Nibbe said. "Cops took him away, so he didn't get burned himself."
The fire was so intense that flames spread to two neighboring homes. Additionally, it took firefighters approximately 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
"The house was burned down," said neighbor Luis Alvarado-Santiago, whose home was also destroyed in the fire. "We cried... we lost everything."
Thursday was a difficult day for everyone involved, including first responders.
"We all have families," Eakins said. "You never just get used to stuff like this. I'm heartbroken for the family and everybody involved. My firefighters, I'm heartbroken for them. it's just a sad situation."
While the fire is not believed to have been suspicious, Eakins said, the incident remains under investigation by the Indiana State Fire Marshal.