MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. – Investigators were unable to determine the cause of a fire that killed three children in Miami County but suggested it may have been set by one of the victims.
The Feb. 27 broke out at a home in the 13400 block of South 300 East just before 11 a.m. Police said the children’s mother, 27-year-old Laura Gingerich, was in another part of the home when she smelled smoke and found the fire in a bedroom above a garage.
She couldn’t make it to the bedroom because of the flames and heavy smoke. Officers from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police and Converse Police Department tried to get inside the home but were faced with thick smoke and intense heat.
Firefighters used a ladder to reach two of the children while another crew went up the stairs to reach the third.
All three children—6-year-old Miracle, 5-year-old Steven and 1-year-old Willma—died from their injuries.
Investigators said the fire started in an upstairs bedroom, but they were unable to pinpoint the origin. They checked the wiring, outlets, television, radio and power strip; their examination “revealed no evidence of faulty equipment or other ignition sources.”
Investigators later learned that one of the children had previously set fires inside the home. While investigators don’t know the exact cause of the fire, they said the “evidence is consistent with a set fire.”
Autopsies found the children died from “inhalation injuries” due to the fire and ruled their deaths accidental.