ATTICA, Ind. (WLFI) - Flowers, candles, and teddy bears remind a community of three lives that were lost in a fire February 26.
Officials now know how the fire started that killed 26-year-old Lance Ward and his two daughters, 3-year-old Ryleigh and 18-month-old Sage. Attica Fire Chief Ed O'Farrell said results of an investigation that took place at 309 Washington St. show the fire was an electrical fire. He said it started in a common area in the home.
"It started in the kitchen area or the kitchen-dining room area. It was one larger area that incorporated both rooms," O'Farrell said.
As the fire chief, O'Farrell is responsible for the investigation, but he said when lives are lost many agencies come together to look for answers. In this case, the answers would be for 24-year-old Kelli Ward who wasn't home when the fire took the lives of her husband and two children.
"We can request a fire investigator to come out, which we did in this case," O'Farrell said. "They came out, they assisted us. We also have to call the county coroner because he is also involved in all death cases."
O'Farrell said this investigation has taken a toll on everyone involved.
"As far as I know in a long time that anybody can remember we've not had a child fatality in a fire within the city," the fire chief said.
With the loss of life, especially young children, O'Farrell said first responders can experience Critical Incident Stress.
"We got there within three minutes, which I don't think anybody can complain about that all. But the fire was just of such a magnitude that there was nothing that we could do, and when you can't do, and you hurt yourself, and you rush in to try and do something, and you're stymied and not be able to do it, it does create a certain amount of stress on the people," O'Farrell said.
For that reason the fire department had a debriefing Sunday to deal with the emotional trauma any firefighters may have experienced from the fire.
O'Farrell said the community has come together to help support the person hurting most of all, the woman who lost her family.
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