9-year-old boy was alone in house with no working smoke detectors when he died, officials say

MUNCIE, Ind. – A 9-year-old boy was home alone when he died in a Muncie house fire early Thursday morning.

The fire was first reported to emergency crews at 3:51 a.m. and five units were dispatched to the home.

Flames were visible when crews arrived at the house in the 3600 block of South Walnut Street.

Neighbors told fire crews a boy lived in the house, but they weren't sure if he was home.

Crews went inside to search for the boy, but the loft collapsed, and they evacuated.

The boy's mother arrived at the home around 4:45 a.m. and told fire crews her son was inside the house.

Fire officials found him on the second-story loft which collapsed into the kitchen.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner confirms his name is Vincent Gibbons.

Muncie Police Department Cpt. Joe Todd says the mother took the boy's dad to work last night around 10:30 p.m. She went to her mother's house to do laundry afterwards, and she fell asleep. When she woke up and came home, she found the fire department at her house.

Both parents are cooperating with investigators, and police don't foresee any charges being made against the parents.

Robert Mead, chief investigator for the Muncie Fire Department, says it looks like the fire started in the kitchen, but it's difficult to figure out the cause and exact origin because the loft collapsed into the kitchen. Now investigators aren't sure what was in the kitchen prior to the fire.

There were several space heaters in the home, but they were not in the area where it's believed the fire started.

Mead says it doesn't look like there were any working smoke detectors in the house.

Photo of house where Muncie boy died in fire on February 7, 2019

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