IFD peer review confirms Flora fire that killed 4 sisters was intentionally set

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Flora fire victims

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A house fire in Flora that killed four sisters is confirmed to be arson, according to a peer review by the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Indiana State Police asked IFD to conduct a review of the investigation back in November 2017. An ISP spokesman said peer reviews have been requested in the past for high-profile cases.

IFD began their review the first week of December 2017; it concluded on January 25, 2018.

The peer review concentrated on examination of witness reports of people present at the time of the fire, inclusive of firefighters, law enforcement and citizen witnesses. Additionally, the content of two “Origin & Cause” reports was reviewed.

Yesterday, IFD held a meeting with ISP detectives; members of the Indianapolis Fire Department Fire Investigation Section; and Indiana State Fire Marshal personnel to go over their findings.

They concluded the fire was intentionally set. This means the criminal investigation being conducted by the Indiana State Police will continue.

The fire took place in the heart of downtown Flora on November 21, 2016. Keyana Davis, 11, Keyara Phillips, 9, Kerriele McDonald, 7, and Kionnie Welch, 5 were trapped inside the home on Columbia Street when it went up in flames. Their mother, Gaylin Rose, made it out.

The investigation has been plagued with setbacks. On the one-year anniversary of the fire, ISP said there’s nothing new with the investigation.

Over the past year, the investigation has taken many turns, but yielded few answers. CBS4 exposed inaccuracies in the state fire investigator’s initial report, which stated accelerants were found “all over the house.” In reality, state police said they were only found in one spot.

The state fire investigator was the first to resign. Then the county prosecutor announced his retirement at the end of this year for personal reasons. Flora’s fire chief also resigned.

If you know anything about the fire, you’re encouraged to call police.

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