KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — The cause of a fire that killed three young siblings in February is undetermined but may have been started by one of the children, investigators say.
A “human element” likely played a role in the Feb. 27 house fire near Kokomo that killed Miracle Gingerich, 6; Steven Gingerich, 5; and Wilma Gingerich, 1, Miami County Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Glassburn said.
Investigators found no evidence of “faulty equipment or other ignition sources,” and interviews with family members revealed one of the children previously had set fires in the house, the sheriff’s office said in a statement, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“While the exact cause of the fire was undetermined, evidence is consistent with a set fire,” the recent statement said.
The children's mother, who was in a first-floor bathroom, called authorities on the morning of the fire to report her children were trapped on the second floor. Firefighters found the children unconscious and not breathing. They were sent to area hospitals and later died.
Autopsies showed all three siblings died from “inhalation injuries due to (the) house fire,” the sheriff’s office said. Their deaths were ruled accidental.