FLORA, Ind. (WISH) — Four children are dead after an early morning fire in Carroll County.
According to the Carroll County Coroner’s Office, the four children killed in the fire were Kionnie Precious Welch, 5, Kerriele Danyell McDonald, 7, 9-year-old Keyara Janell Phillips and 11-year-old Keyana Latrice Davis. Cause of death of all four was determined to be asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation.
The Indiana Department of Security and State Fire Marshal and local authorities are investigating the fire that broke out around 3:30 a.m.
The fire happened in the 100 block of East Columbia Street in Flora.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office said four children, all sisters, died. They said the girls’ mother was injured and airlifted from the scene to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in serious condition.
There were also two police officers injured. One officer is Drew Yoder with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital burn unit in Fort Wayne.
He received burns to his hands and forehead. According to Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby, the “next 48 to 72 hours are crucial” for Yoder’s recovery.
The other sheriff injured is from the Flora Police Department, the extent of those injuries are unclear. The Flora Fire Department says both officers are expected to recover.
Officials say there is no foul play suspected and that no accelerants were found inside the home.
One working smoke alarm was in the home. The home is divided into two apartments. One apartment was occupied by the woman and her four children, the other apartment’s occupants escaped uninjured.
The Carroll Consolidated School district released a statement Monday afternoon saying in part that grief counselors have been available for students all day and all other activities for the week, except for sports practices, have been cancelled.
People needing support are asked to talk to counselors and clergy members at Carroll Elementary. More information is on their website.
The Carroll County Sheriff said the oldest child was 13 years old and the youngest was 4 years old.
A GoFundMe page was started to help the mother recover and bury her children. Amber Flora is friends with the family, and her children often played with the girls.
” My children loved and adore them,” said Amber Flora.
The investigation is ongoing, firefighters are calling in additional investigators to look at the scene to determine what caused the fire. The extra set of eyes will use arc mapping, where investigators search the structure’s electrical wiring to determine where the fire started in the house.