State police identify 6 bodies found in Logansport house fire

Six bodies have been recovered from a house fire where authorities confirmed four children and two adults died early Wednesday morning.

Posted: Nov 29, 2018 10:27 AM
Updated: Nov 29, 2018 4:02 PM

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) —Six bodies have been recovered from a house fire where authorities confirmed four children and two adults died early Wednesday morning. The adults were identified as 42-year-old Joseph Huddleston and 25-year-old Brandi Vail, according to ISP. The children found were girls, 10-year-old Kadee Huddleston, 3-year-old Swayzee Hite, 1-year-old Rhylie Hite and a boy, 3-month-old Marshall Hite. Police said the youngest kids are the children of the Brandi Vail. Kadee Huddleston is the daughter of Joseph Huddleston.

Brandi Vail is the step daughter of Joseph Huddleston. The two adults that escaped the fire were 43-year-old Sheila Huddleston and 19-year-old Brandon Huddleston. Sheila is Joseph Huddleston’s wife and Brandon is his son.

New Waverly Fire Department crews found the home is in the 4300 block of Pottawatomie Road, just south of Logansport, largely engulfed in flames around 2 a.m., fire Lt. Steve Crispen said. The fire collapsed. Investigators have not confirmed if the case is arson.

Deputy Sheriff Nick Bowyer was the first on the scene. Bowyer said he doesn't recall hearing smoke detectors going off when he arrived.

"Our first job is to render aid," said Bowyer. "Now, our job transitions into scene preservation." 

Peer support teams were going to be coming to help firefighters and investigators, who were searching the house for remains. The Cass County Coroner was at the scene.

The sheriff's office said the number of people originally reported in the home was based on family descriptions and the number of vehicles at the scene.

"We were trying to break windows," said Bowyer. "Myself and Deputy Preston were on the roof of the house trying to get to anyone that might be on that second story."

Bowyer said the fire was difficult to fight, and ammunition inside the home made it even more difficult. 

"Not only were we dealing with a fire that was really hot, and the wind was blowing really hard from the west to the east, but we were dodging bullets too. The rounds were getting hot and were firing off. You could hear gunshots in the house. As the fire gets hotter the ammo starts igniting."

Three state fire investigators were at the scene to determine the cause of the blaze, State Fire Marshal James Greeson said, adding that the task ahead would not be easy.

"We have an excavation unit in there that is going to systematically pull this apart, so we can get in and actually do our investigation," Greeson said.

Slocum said he didn't want to speculate about the cause of the fire and that investigators were talking with the survivors.

"We're going to consider it a criminal investigation until we find out otherwise — it is all encompassing," Slocum said.

Another deputy is with the two people at the hospital. Bowyer said they are reportedly in stable condition.

There is a death investigation in Carroll County right now. Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum says that someone involved in that may be related to people in the home. 

The investigation has now shifted to figuring out the cause of the fire. 

Investigators will continue through Thursday. 

Check back here for any updates. 

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