LOGANSPORT, Ind. – A Logansport fire that killed six people, including four children, is being investigated as a possible criminal case.
The call for the fire came out around 1:50 a.m. in the 4300 block of Pottawatomie Road on the east side of the city.
Cass County Fire Lt. Steve Crispen says the sheriff's office arrived on the scene first. They rescued two adults, a mother and an adult son, who are now at the hospital. They're expected to survive.
At a press conference, authorities provided an update identifying the ages of those killed. The children who died are a 3-month old boy, 1-year-old girl, 3-year-old girl and 10-year-old girl. The 3-month-old, 1-year-old and 3-year-old were children of a 25-year-old mother, who was also found dead. Police also found a 42-year-old male, who is the father of the 10-year-old girl.
Additionally, a man at the center of a death investigation in Carroll County Wednesday has children who died in this fire.
When firefighters arrived to the home, they went on the attack and tried to get inside and rescue the others, but they were unsuccessful. They climbed on the roof and broke windows to get inside, but the flames were just too big. The home was 80 percent involved with heavy fire at the time. Video from Mitchell Kirk with the Pharos-Tribune shows the flames.
At one point, officials say ammo inside the house started going off.
The house is in a rural, non-hydrated area, so they had to truck in water to battle the flames. Crews were out of water within five minutes, and they had to stop fighting the fire until more water could be transported to them. Also, freezing temperatures made it difficult.
“It’s pretty numbing when initial dispatch is telling us people are entrapped in the structure and they’re saying multiple people,” Lt. Crispen said.
State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says the house collapsed as a result of the fire and there is a lot of damage to the interior from some combustible materials, so it was difficult to get inside to investigate.
“We have currently three investigators from the state fire marshal’s office and homeland security here--we have a fourth coming in later. So our investigators will work diligently to gather information and samples and whatever they can to help make that determination if possible,” Greeson said.
“We’re probably going to have to wait until daytime and stuff to get heavy equip in here and make sure the structure is safe enough for us to go in there and do recovery of the individuals that are in here,” Lt. Crispen said earlier in the day.
Lt. Crispen has been working with the fire department for 35 years, and he says it’s been one of the toughest days of his life.
“It’s very difficult what this community has gone through the last couple of months… the Logansport Fire Department losing two young children in a structure fire on the south side… two weeks later they lost an elderly person on the southeast end. Now we have this going on here where we’ve apparently lost six people in this fire here,” Lt. Crispen said.
Currently, it’s being investigated as a possible criminal case, and officials are not yet sure if it’s accidental. The fire marshal will make that determination.
The sheriff’s office said they did not hear any smoke detectors when they arrived at the scene. At this time it's not clear if any were installed or working.