Friends share concerns on mother injured in fatal Flora fire

Following a fatal Flora fire that caused injuries to a mother and two law enforcement officers trying to save four children, News 18 was first to speak with close friends of the injured mom who said the small town of 2,000 is like one big family. (WLFI Photo)
Following a fatal Flora fire that caused injuries to a mother and two law enforcement officers trying to save four children, News 18 was first to speak with close friends of the injured mom who said the small town of 2,000 is like one big family. (WLFI Photo)

FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) — Following a fatal Flora fire that caused injuries to a mother and two law enforcement officers trying to save four children, News 18 was first to speak with close friends of the injured mom who said the small town of 2,000 is like one big family.

Amber Flora, the best friend of the mother injured in the fire, said this news brought her to her knees a couple of times on Monday.

“Hold your children extra tight tonight because, you know, blink of an eye — it can be gone,” Flora said.

It didn’t take long for neighbors and friends to point News 18 to the Marathon gas station, where the mother works. Throughout the day, community members were coming and going, sending their condolences and talking about how they plan to work together to help out a grieving mother in their town.

Marathon employees set up a tip jar for their friend to help with funerals or anything else she may need.

Flora said she can’t grasp what her friend is even going through at this time.

“I could not even fathom going through life without my children,” Flora said. “It’s family only at this time [at the hospital] and I mean they’re surrounding her with just questions and, you know, she asked to be sedated.”

News 18’s Kayla Sullivan asked if the mother knew her children were dead.

“She does know,” Flora said. “Her children were screaming for her and she was screaming for her kids [during the fire].”

She said it’s going to be a loss the whole Flora community will feel for a very long time.

Daniell Boehme, a co-worker of the mother, said her friend spoke about her four children a lot.

“Yes, she did,” Boehme said. “[She said] that they were her angels.”

She said it’s just a sad day in Flora.

“There’s like 2,000 people, and we’re all family,” Boehme said.

Flora added, “We all lend a hand where we need it. … We all come together during hard times, and try to be there for one another.”

Which makes the two first responders who were injured trying to save the children heroes in Flora’s book.

“They’re heroes, you know, absolutely,” she said. “I mean they risked their own lives to try to save four little children.”

Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Yoder and Flora Police Officer Josh Disinger are in stable condition after being pushed back by flames and smoke trying to get inside the burning home.

Flora’s kids were friends with the four sisters who died in the fire.

“My son didn’t even want to go to school this morning,” Flora said. “And my daughter is 4 so I mean she understands, you know, that her friend is not coming back, but she’s hanging in there.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Burlington Fire Department. Investigators expect to be at it for several more hours to even the rest of Monday.

“Everybody knows everybody, and everybody cares about everybody,” Flora said.

Marathon employees say they are in the beginning stages of planning a vigil and fundraiser for the family. News 18 will keep you updated on those plans.