TIFFIN — Fire officials believe either burning candles or smoking caused a Tiffin trailer fire that killed five children and one adult, but the Tiffin fire chief said the official cause is undetermined because investigators can’t tell for sure which activity started the blaze.
William Ennis, Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division fire chief, said Friday that an investigation found evidence of both smoking and candle burning in the mobile home’s living room area. He said investigators narrowed the cause down to those two likely causes but “can’t identify which one of the two” are responsible.
Investigators found an ashtray, but it was too damaged to tell whether smoking had occurred. He said reports indicated candles were lit.
“We feel fairly comfortable with one of those two,” Chief Ennis said.
Victims of the Sunday blaze were Timothy Fresch, 25; Domonic Fresch, 1; Trinitie Huey, 4; Sunshine Huey, 3; Stormie Huey, 5, and Tiara Angel, 6.
A news release issued Friday stated firefighters who responded could hear working smoke detectors. They arrived at the scene at 7:58 a.m., just minutes after the fire call was received.
By 8:03 a.m., the “main body of the fire” had been extinguished.
At 8:08 a.m., firefighters had removed four female victims who were in a bedroom and hallway in the rear of the trailer.
Firefighters found Mr. Fresch in a front bedroom and found a sixth victim, his son Domonic, under a pile of clothing in the same area.
Chief Ennis said it appears Mr. Fresch tried to save the child, but couldn’t leave the room because the fire spread so quickly, blocking the door. Evidence indicates the father put himself between the child and the fire to try to provide protection.