LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) — The father of three of the six victims of a northern Indiana house fire was found dead a few hours after the blaze and miles away in what a local police chief on Thursday called a “coincidence.”
The fire outside Logansport early Wednesday killed Joseph Huddleston, 42; his 10-year-old daughter, Kadee Huddleston, his stepdaughter, Brandi Vail, 25; and her three children, 3-year-old Swayzee Hite, 1-year-old Rhylie Hite and 3-month-old Marshall Hite, police said.
Daniel Hite was found dead a few hours later in a home in Flora, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Logansport, Flora Police Chief Paul Redmon told WLFI-TV. His age wasn’t provided.
Hite’s cause of death wasn’t clear Thursday.
Redmon said it was a “coincidence” that Hite and his children died just hours apart
The Logansport home that was engulfed by flames had no working smoke detectors, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said Thursday.
There is no evidence the fire was intentionally set, Slocum said in a news release.
Investigators have completed an inspection of the entire burned-out home and debris, and major appliances such as the stove and water heater have been ruled out as sources of the fire.
“There is some evidence indicating the fire could have been caused by an electrical issue, but due to the destruction caused by the fire, the cause remains as undetermined,” Slocum said.
Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson has ruled the fire accidental.
Joseph Huddleston’s wife, Shelia Huddleston, 43, and his son, Brandon Huddleston, 19, escaped the fire and were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Slocum said.
Greeson said Wednesday that the investigation into the cause of the fire could take weeks because of the level of destruction.
“The roof is collapsed. The second floor is collapsed. So we have to dig through that debris. As we dig through that debris, if there is one area of the home that is more charring than the other, showing flame spread a certain way, we will record that. But it will be very hard with the amount of damage and the demolition of the home,” Greeson said during a news conference.