Fire Dept: Fatal Christmas Eve fire accidental
Cody Neuenschwander The Kokomo
Fire Department announced Thursday the cause of the Christmas Eve fire
that took the lives of 10- and 12-year-old sisters was accidental,
specifying the blaze started in the two-story home’s kitchen.
In a press release from the
Kokomo Fire Department, officials say no evidence of working,
battery-operated smoke detectors was found by fire crews upon their
arrival or during their operation at the residence at 908 N. Morrison
identified, states the press release, “indicating a possible internal
failure or area of resistive heating in an unknown electrical appliance
energized by a duplex outlet in the kitchen.” The release goes on to
say this apparent malfunction “could not be ruled out as the ignition
which was called in during the early morning hours of Dec. 24, claimed
the lives of Lexis Ann Jones, 12, and Mercedes Faith Jones, 10.
a fire report from KFD, personnel were dispatched to the fire with
knowledge there were still occupants trapped inside. They were greeted
at the scene by the two-story structure fully engulfed in flame, with
KFD Fire Chief Nick Glover saying the day of the fire that flames were
shooting out multiple windows.
firefighters were preparing multiple hoses, Kokomo Police Department
officers on the scene alerted crews two children were still upstairs.
As fire personnel attempted to make entry in the front door, the porch
fell, leading to the hospitalization of one firefighter, who was
released later that morning, said Glover.
downstairs was consumed in fire, states the report, as water was poured
onto the blaze from different sides of the house. “Up to this point a
search could not be conducted due [to] the intense fire,” states the
spread to the second floor and attic area. When first responders were
able to reach the second floor, searches were conducted for the two
children and ceilings were pulled down to combat the blaze in the attic.
were removed, and Howard County Coroner Steve Seele confirmed that
morning they were deceased. Five other family members, including three
children, were hospitalized at St. Vincent Kokomo.
candlelight vigil held the Friday after the fire, the girls’ mother,
Kelley Jones, spoke of her daughters through tears, saying she’s
comforted by the thought her daughters are in heaven with their
release sent out by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security
Wednesday contained a list of safety tips to avoid potentially
dangerous situations. Included in the list:
heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects, like
clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture. Keep at least a 3-foot
parameter around space heaters at all times. Additionally, only one
space heater should be plugged into an electrical outlet at a time.
Never overload electrical outlets.
space heaters running in unoccupied rooms. If the purchase of a space
heater is necessary, consider buying one with a built-in tilt sensor
that ensures the heater shuts off if it’s tipped over. Refuel kerosene
space heaters outside the house in a well-ventilated area, and let it
cool down first if it was recently used.