A wood stove may have caused a mobile home fire that killed five people in a rural area outside English early this morning.
Crawford County Coroner Wayne Bullington said the victims of the fire, which started around 12:30, included three adults and two children.
Outside the charred remains of the trailer this morning, family member Rose Turben identified the victims as her brother John Denton; their brother Bill Turben; Dee Rogier, Jay’s girlfriend; 3-year old Curtis Rogier and 8-year old Kara Denton.
Rose Turben said that Jay Denton had worked at a warehouse in Marengo and that Bill Turben had been staying with the family.
She said that the wood stove, which was in the living room, had metal behind it and underneath it to prevent a fire from spreading.
Crawford County Sheriff Tim Wilkerson, who was standing nearby as Turben spoke, said the fire is the worst tragedy heís seen during his six years as sheriff and 17 years of law enforcement.
The trailer was located in a remote, rural area about a mile south of I-64. Crawford County Emergency Management Director Larry Allen says a neighbor, who called 911, tried to make entry to the burning trailer but the flames were too hot.
Allen said the Leavenworth Fire Department initially responded to the call and sought backup from nearby departments, who put the fire out shortly after 1:30 a.m.
The state fire marshals office is investigating the cause of the blaze. But Allen said “the most probable cause was the wood heating stove.”