Investigators identify one of three victims in Martinsville mobile home fire

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MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – Three people died in a mobile home fire in Martinsville early Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on North Outer Drive near State Road 37 and South Ohio Street.

The home was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived at the scene, police said.

One of the victims was identified as David Fouts, 40, of Martinsville. The other two victims have not been identified, police said. 

Martinsville Deputy Fire Chief, Charlie Fraker said bitterly cold temperatures made the firefight challenging. Fraker said his department typically has residence fires under control in 15 to 20 minutes, but the frigid weather prolonged efforts Wednesday morning.

“These colder temperatures, because you are rotating people in and out and we have limited manpower, it takes a little longer,” Fraker said. “So that’s why it took a little longer today, around 45 minutes.”

Fouts worked on the maintenance crew at nearby Foxcliff Golf Course. Management at the golf course described Fouts as a friendly, reliable worker who was always willing to tackle various jobs. They said Fouts would often work long hours and was known for helping people around town on his own time.

Johnna Cherry, a longtime friend of Fouts, said he was known in the community for offering to help anyone who needed it.

“He was amazing,” Cherry said. “He would give the shirt off his back to anybody, he took in homeless people, he bought children food. He would do anything for anybody in the world.”

Another friend of Fouts, Stacey Eggers, said Fouts didn’t have much, but he would often open his home to someone who needed a place to stay.

“He helped everyone, it didn’t matter who you were, he helped you,” Eggers said.

Cherry said she didn’t know what may have started the fire in Fouts’ mobile home, although she knew he often used kerosene heaters to stay warm.

“All I know is last night, he messaged me and said they were going to put kerosene in the heater and next thing I know I got woke up to the fire, and he passed away,” Cherry said.

Investigators have not determined the cause or nature of the fire. Officials at the scene did not know whether there were working smoke alarms in the mobile home when the fire broke out.  

The Indiana State Fire Marshals office is working with Martinsville fire investigators to find out what started the fire. The Morgan County Coroner was still working to identify the other two victims found inside the mobile home.

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