Fire in Miami County leaves 3 children dead; school corporation sets up fund for family

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MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. – Fire crews responded to a house fire in Miami County Saturday morning that left three children dead.

The fire happened in the 13400 block of South 300 East just before 11 a.m. Saturday. The Indiana State Police said the children’s mother was in another part of the home when she smelled smoke and found the fire in a bedroom above a garage. The flames and smoke drove her from the home before she could get to the bedroom.

Firefighters were on the scene within 16 minutes and used a ladder to retrieve two of the children while a crew made its way up a staircase to retrieve the third.

Two of the children were transported to a hospital in Peru while the other was transported to a Kokomo hospital. All three children were pronounced dead at the hospital.

The children were identified as 6-year-old Miracle, 5-year-old Steven and 1-year-old Willma. Their mother, 27-year-old Laura Gingerich, was reportedly not injured in the fire.

Several rural township fire departments responded to the fire. The damage was mostly contained to the bedroom and garage.

The fire remains under investigation by the state fire marshal as of the time of this report.

Authorities say fire crews were called out to the home at 4 a.m. Sunday for a rekindle.

The Maconaquah School Corporation says counselors within the corporation will be on campus at Pipe Creek Elementary school this week to help grieving students and staff.

The school cooperation announced Sunday it has established a fund for the family, and anyone interested in contributing can drop off donations to the Maconaquah Administration Building at 7932 South Strawtown Pike, Bunker Hill, IN 46914. Checks can be made out to Maconaquah School Corporation. MSC asks that any questions related to donations be directed to its corporate office at 765-689-9131, ext. 1100.

“The event that took place this weekend was absolutely heartbreaking for all of those who knew the Gingerich family,” MSC said in a statement. “It is travesties such as this that really make you lean on your community, and the love and compassion that has been poured over our Maconaquah family and the family and friends of Steven and Miracle has been incredible.

“We truly appreciate all of the support as we work to find healing for students and staff who have been affected by this loss.”

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