He entered and then re-entered a burning building in the town of Flora attempting to rescue four young girls trapped in a house fire. This in the early morning hours of November 21st, 2016.
The valiant efforts of Yoder and others would fail. All four girls died.
The girls’ mother, Gaylin Rose, Yoder and another officer, Josh Disinger of the Flora Police Department were hospitalized, but all three would recover.
Fox59/CBS4 has obtained video of Yoder responding to the Flora fire. The video is from a dashboard camera inside his car. The camera is fixed, pointing through the windshield towards the front of vehicle. The view is limited, but Yoder is wearing a microphone. Frequently, viewers will hear much more than they see.
For some people watching/listening to the attached TV story and video below will be difficult. In the video, the only editing has been to eliminate profanity.
Yoder was patrolling just west of Flora. As he was rolling down South Sycamore Street, an alarm went out to police, fire, and emergency medical responders; house fire at 103 East Columbia Street. Callers to 911 say there are four children still inside.
Officer Disinger arrived seconds before Yoder. In the dash-cam video, the deputy ran past the front of his car towards the burning building. There is a brief exchange with Rose.
“Stay out. Girls upstairs?” – Deputy Drew YoderClick here to listen
“Yes!” – Gaylin Rose
Yoder entered the home. It was already filled with heavy smoke. The warm, thick layer of smoke filled the first floor of the two-story structure from top to bottom.
A witness described visibility of only a foot to a foot-and-a-half from the floor.
“(intelligible) Sh__! F___ing hot! Damn.” – Deputy YoderClick here to listen
“County… county? …send Cutler Fire as well. Get Cutler Fire in here as well.” – Deputy Yoder on police radio
Yoder’s microphone picked up Disinger, first talking to Rose, and then Yoder.
Click here to listen
“Where they at. Where are the kids? Upstairs?” – Flora Police Officer Josh Disinger
“Where upstairs?” – Deputy Yoder
“She said around the corner to the left.” – Officer Disinger
“My babies, my God! (screams)” -Gaylin Rose
“County, send medics as well.” – Deputy Yoder on police radio
Coughing heavily, Deputy Yoder tried to navigate up a narrow smoke-filled stairway to reach Gaylin Rose’s daughters; Keyana (age 11), Keyara (age 9), Kerrielle (age 7) and Kionne (age 5). The girls shared a bedroom on the second floor.
“I can’t crawl, man. I can’t crawl.”Click here to listen Deputy Yoder
Yoder’s climb was complicated by the layout of the stairs. There is a longer flight from the ground floor, then a landing to the left and a second, shorter set of steps leading to the girls’ bedroom.
Rose desperately directs Yoder around that landing.
“Help! You go around the corner! Please! Go around the corner! Keep going!”Click here to listen Gaylin Rose
But the smoke was too much. As he exited the home breathing heavily and groaning, Yoder got back on his police radio.
“County, send (unintelligible). Keep sending out (unintelligible), please. We’ve still got four kids inside. We can’t get inside.”Click here to listen Deputy Yoder
Yoder ran back to his patrol car and raced to the Flora Fire Department, which is not yet on the scene of the blaze. The drive of just four blocks takes 24-seconds.
The deputy is a volunteer firefighter and dashed inside, yelling to get the fire equipment moving.
“(HEAVY BREATHING) Hey! We need to f___ing roll, dude! There’s people inside!”Click here to listen Deputy Yoder
While Yoder is not seen, he is heard on the microphone. It sounds like he is quickly getting into his fire-fighting turn-out gear. In less than a minute, Yoder is seen running back into his car and racing back to the fire.
Back at scene, Yoder announces the fire department is on its way.
“Hey, they’re coming. They’re right here, Dude.” – Deputy YoderClick here to listen
“What?” – Unidentified Male
“They’re right here. They’re coming.” – Deputy Yoder
Off-camera, Deputy Yoder, and Officer Disinger suited-up with on air-packs, getting ready to re-enter the house.
Crawling on hands and knees, Yoder and Disinger went back through the front door. Smoke was pouring through the door and visible flames were starting to work toward the cops from the back of the house.
Inside just two minutes, something went wrong.
“Someone! Help! (screaming).”Click here to listen Deputy Yoder
An emergency call goes out, “Officer down.” A growing group of fire-fighters responding to the fire have an expanded assignment, rescue Yoder, Disinger and the four girls.
Visible on the dash-cam, flames were moving much more rapidly towards the front of the house.
The dinging of alarm is heard. It signals an air-pack low on oxygen.
Click here to listen
Firefighters would reach the officers and the three of the girls and successfully get them out. CPR began immediately on the girls.
The fourth girl was brought out of the house. Feverish efforts to revive the girls continued.
The video shows flames overwhelming the house, forcing firefighters to battle flames exclusively from outside.
Gaylin Rose, Drew Yoder, and Josh Disinger were all taken to hospitals.
The four sisters would not be resuscitated. All four dead, as the fire continued to rage through the structure.
Almost two months later, the fire was labeled an arson. The investigation, described as active by the Indiana State Police, has not produced an arrest in six-plus years.
Before FOX59 made a final decision to air the dash-cam video, Gaylin Rose asked to see it. It was immensely difficult for her to watch, but she supports our sharing the video to the public.
Rose hopes the video will generate tips from the public that may finally bring the investigation to a close.
The toll-free number set up by the Indiana State Police is 800-382-4628. You do not have to give your name to provide information.