LOGANSPORT, Ind. – Two adults and four children lost their lives in an early-morning house fire in this northern Indiana community Wednesday, authorities said.
A mother and her adult son were rescued from the raging flames by sheriff’s deputies and taken to a local hospital. But the intensity of the heat and thickness of the smoke prevented further searches.
The ages of the child victims ranged from 2 months to 10 years, authorities said. Their identities, and those of the two adult victims, were yet to be released.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told a news conference the cause of the fire is under criminal investigation, but cautioned that social media and some news reports that it was arson have not been confirmed.
“We don’t want to provide any speculation,” he said. “That serves no purpose for anybody.”
The home was located in a rural section of the town without fire hydrants, hampering efforts to control it. Tanker trucks filled with water rushed to the scene but the two-story home was already engulfed in flames.
“It’s pretty numbing when initial dispatch is telling us people are entrapped in the structure and they’re saying multiple people,” said Cass County Fire Lt. Steve Krispen.
Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said first report of the fire occurred at 1:50 a.m. He said firefighters fought it for five hours in frigid temperatures, strong winds and a shortage of water.
State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said the fire completely consumed the house, making efforts to determine the cause difficult. “We've got an excavation unit that’s going to systematically pull this apart so we can get in and do our investigation,” he said.
Located 68 miles north of Indianapolis, the Logansport community has been hit by a spate of tragedies recently, said Mayor Dave Kitchell. He said two other children were killed in a house fire in September and a 3-year-old boy died of an accidental gunshot in October.
Earlier this year, Logansport, home to 20,000 residents, was rated the top affordable small town in America by the website Realtors.com, which praised its affordability, low unemployment and low crime rate.
“This is like telling the Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities story instead of the Christmas story this time of year,” said the mayor. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”