FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A memorial now sits in the grass outside a mobile home where four children died after a massive fire early Thursday. Flowers and stuffed animals surround a wooden cross as neighbors are left in disbelief.
As investigators continue to search for the cause of the fire, the names of the four persons who were able to escape the inferno have been released. Here are their names according to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department:
- Jessica Mann, 30, of Fort Wayne
- Audrey Kistler, 24, of Fort Wayne
- Samuel R. Barnett, 17, of Fort Wayne
- Travis J. Garrison, 18, of Waterloo
The names of the children won’t be released until autopsies are completed, which won’t happen until next week, probably Monday at the earliest according to the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
Fire crews were called around 8:30 a.m. to a home in the 4700 block of Grassy Lane, in the Dupont Estates community off East Dupont Road near North Clinton Street.
Firefighters arrived to find flames throughout the mobile home, according to a report. The report added: “Crews pulled lines to start extinguishing the fire and looking for ways to enter the structure. Crews battled hard” and the fire was deemed under control in 23 minutes.
Inside the destroyed structure, crews found four children dead, the report said. The Allen County Coroner declared the children deceased at 9:47 a.m., according to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.
A family member told WANE 15 the children were all young, three boys and a girl.
Four adults were able to make it out of the mobile home. All of the adults were hospitalized, including the mother of the children. Authorities did not know the conditions of the adults, but the family member said the mother – Jessica Mann – was in a burn unit in Indianapolis suffering from “severe” internal and external burns.
A neighbor told WANE 15 that he tried to help get people out and even punched a window to try to get in.
“There was just a bunch of screaming inside. I went to go to the front door because there was too much smoke on the outside. It felt like the door was barricaded or something. My full bodyweight and all my force, there was nothing I could do to pry the door open, nothing. All I heard was the screaming of one of the kids,” Wesley Desjardins said. “Tell your loved ones you love them while you have the chance. You never know when you might lose them.”
The mobile home sustained heavy fire, water and smoke damage, the report said.
On Friday, the extent of the damage could be clearly seen as well as investigators looking for clues.
WARNING – GRAPHIC VIDEO
The investigation is being handled by the Fort Wayne Fire Department, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Allen County F.A.S.T. Team, and Indiana State Fire Marshal.