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Four Young Sisters Die in Flora House Fire

Jason Reese

A lethal house fire is under investigation in Flora. Early Monday morning around 3:40 a.m., a neighbor awoke to a mother screaming for help. That mother, who had escaped her first floor bedroom and was outside the burning house, could not get to her four daughters in upstairs bedrooms. The first responder to the Flora house fire was Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Yoder, and he entered the home in an attempt to rescue the girls. After being overcome by the fire and smoke inhalation, he was pulled from the house by Josh Disinger, a Flora police officer.

The mother, who has yet to be identified publicly, remains hospitalized, and Deputy Drew Yoder had to be airlifted to a special burn treatment facility, where he remains in stable condition. The four young girls appear to have slept through the fire and died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. The sisters have been identified as Kionnie Precious Welch (Age 5), Kerriele Danyell McDonald (7), Keyara Janell Phillips (9), and Keyana Latrice Davis (11).

The home had been divided into two apartments, and the occupant of the other unit escaped unharmed. Some news sites are reporting there was only one working smoke alarm in the entire home, but there has been no definitive statement from investigators on this matter or the official cause of the fire.

Smoke Alarms Can Be Critical During a Home Fire

Smoke alarms are the best line of defense when it comes to avoiding serious injury or death due to fire. As in the Flora house fire, fatalities often occur when the occupants of a structure have no warning about a fire breakout. This is especially true for nighttime fires, when unsuspecting residents can suffocate on smoke without ever waking to discover a fire.

Despite the importance of these simple devices, smoke alarms only sound in slightly more than half of all home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 60% of all home fire deaths occurred in homes where there was no working smoke alarm, as was the case in the Flora house fire. Nearly 40% of those deaths resulted from fires in homes completely lacking alarms, and 21% resulted from fires in homes where the smoke alarms were not functioning for one reason or another. Dead batteries are the cause of a full quarter of smoke alarm failures.

Home fires can occur due to electrical problems, appliances, candles, chemicals or gases, smoking materials, and many other sources. Certainly, in many instances there is little we can do to prevent the fire, as the source may be unknown or undiscovered. With so many fire sources out of our control, it is critical to use smoke alarms, placed correctly and functioning properly. Check batteries regularly. If you are a renter and your smoke alarm is wired into your rental, alert your landlord if you believe the alarm is malfunctioning in any way. Seek legal assistance in situations where your landlord is not doing their part to maintain or repair smoke alarms after being alerted to a problem. Your family’s safety may be at risk.

If a fire tragically strikes your family as a result of another’s wrongdoing, the burn injury attorneys at Wagner Reese will sort through all the investigative and other evidence to support your claim for damages. Call us today for a free consultation and find out how we will fight for you: (888) 204-8440.


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