Upon further investigation by joint agencies, the cause of the mobile home fire that killed five young children and a father has been ruled officially undetermined. No criminal activity was evident, although candles were found in the area of origin.
On Sept. 15 shortly before 8 a.m., Tiffin dispatch received a report of a structure fire at the Highland Estates Trailer Park on South Sandusky Street. Initial reports indicated a fire within a vacant trailer at lot #28. Additional reports of the fire were received at the same time by the Seneca County Sheriff's Office.
Unsure of the exact location of the fire, both the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division and the Bascom Fire Department were dispatched. First responders were advised by a bystander at the scene, that there were still people inside. He said he tried to gain entry into the residence prior to the crews' arrival, but was unable, due to flames and heat conditions.
When Tiffin Fire/Rescue arrived, they found a working structure fire with smoke throughout the structure and flames coming out windows. Advised by a Tiffin police officer that children and an adult were trapped inside, firefighters initiated an aggressive fire attack, as well as a search and rescue operation. Upon forced entry, firefighters could hear smoke detectors inside the structure.
Just after 8 a.m., firefighters had extinguished the main body of the fire and were continuing to conduct a search of the residence. Moments later, firefighters removed four young girls found in the back of the trailer in a bedroom and hallway area. They began on-scene treatment and transported the victims to the emergency room for further treatment.
Firefighters located the adult male in the front bedroom. He was also transported to the hospital for treatment.
The little boy was found under a pile of clothing near the adult male. Evidence at the scene suggested the adult had placed the child under the clothing and then placed himself between the child and fire, in order to protect the child. The child was then transported to the hospital for treatment. Resuscitation efforts continued in the emergency room, but were unsuccessful.
A joint investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office, Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division and Tiffin Police Department was conducted at the scene. During investigation, evidence of both smoking and burning candles were found in the area of origin. There was no evidence of a criminal act found during the investigation. As a result, the cause of the fire has been ruled officially undetermined.
On Thursday, hundreds gathered to remember 6-year-old Tiara Angel, 5-year-old Stormie Huey, 4-year-old Trinitie Huey, 3-year-old Sunshine Huey, 2-year-old Domonic Fresch, and 25-year-old Timothy Fresch.
The community has come together to support the mother, Anna Angel, through this tragedy. An account has been set up at U.S. Bank to cover funeral costs and help replace belongings lost in the fire. Donations can also be dropped off at the Burger King on West Market Street in Tiffin, where Angel works.
Due to weather conditions, the candlelight vigil scheduled for Friday night has been moved from the Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial to the Columbian High School gym. Doors will open at 9 p.m. with the service expected to start at 9:30 p.m.
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