State fire marshal searching for cause behind fatal Flora fire

A Flora police officer and a Carroll County Sheriff's deputy were both injured following a fire at a home at 103 E. Columbia St. in Flora, Ind., which killed four children and hospitalized their mother. (WLFI Photo)
A Flora police officer and a Carroll County Sheriff's deputy were both injured following a fire at a home at 103 E. Columbia St. in Flora, Ind., which killed four children and hospitalized their mother. (WLFI Photo)

FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) — Investigators are trying to figure out the cause behind a fire that killed four children in Flora Monday morning and injured their mother. Two law enforcement officers were also injured while trying to save the children.

It’s a very tragic day in the small town of Flora, as the community mourns the loss of four children who were all sisters. Flora Police Chief Paul Redmon said their ages range from preschool to sixth grade.

The girls didn’t make it out of the fire at 103 E. Columbia St.. Their mother was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital for her injuries. There’s no word on her current condition.

Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Yoder, who was first on the scene, went into the burning home to try and save the girls. He suffered burns to his hands and forehead as well as suffered severe smoke inhalation. Yoder was flown to a burn unit in Fort Wayne but is now in stable condition.

Flora Police Officer Josh Disinger is also in stable condition after trying to save the children. He was taken to IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette for smoke inhalation.

Flora Fire Assistant Chief Todd Trent told the Associated Press after Yoder and Disinger couldn’t reach the children due to heavy flames and smoke, other firefighters were able to rescue the children from second-story bedrooms but could not revive them.

Trent says it appears the children died from smoke inhalation.

According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, no foul play is suspected. No accelerants were found at the home after a search by K-9s. Officers said there was also only one working smoke detector in one home divided into two apartments.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson arrived on scene just before 11 a.m. and his office is taking the lead on the investigation with the assistance of the Burlington Fire Department.

With the town being of about 2,000 people, it was a very emotional experience for the Flora Fire Department. Flora firefighters were sent home to grieve and surrounding departments stepped in.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is expected to be investigating for several more hours, maybe even the rest of the day.

News 18 will keep you updated throughout the day online at WLFI.com and later tonight on News 18 at Five and Six.