CRAWFORD COUNTY, Tenn. - A wood stove may have caused a mobile home fire that killed five people in a rural area outside English, Ind., early Thursday morning, according to a Crawford County official.
Crawford County Coroner Wayne Bullington said the victims of the fire, which started around 12:30 a.m., included three adults and two children.
Outside the charred remains of the trailer Thursday morning, family member Rose Turben identified the victims as her brother John "Jay" Denton; their brother Bill Turben; Dee Rogier, Jay's girlfriend; Curtis Rogier, 3; and Kara Denton, 8.
She said that Jay Denton had worked at a warehouse in Marengo and that Bill Turben had been staying with the family.
"I am a mess," she said, breaking down into tears.
She said that the wood stove, which was in the living room, had metal behind it and underneath it to prevent a fire from spreading.
Sheriff Tim Wilkerson, who was standing nearby as Turben spoke, said the fire is the worst tragedy he's seen during his six years as sheriff and 17 years of law enforcement.
The trailer was located at 1349 East Denton Road on its own lot in a remote, rural area about a mile south of I-64. A neighbor, who called 911, tried to make entry to the burning trailer but the flames were too hot, said Larry Allen, the Crawford County emergency management director.
He said the Leavenworth Fire Department initially responded to the call and sought backup from nearby departments, who put the fire out shortly after 1:30 a.m.
The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the blaze. But Allen said "the most probable cause was the wood heating stove."
Copyright © 2013 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.