UPDATE: Investigators say Three Oaks fatal fire not suspicious - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Investigators say Three Oaks fatal fire not suspicious


UPDATE: Fire officials say a fire from earlier this month that killed four people was not suspicious.  Investigators say the fire originated in the kitchen or the storage room off of the kitchen.  Authorities say that, because of the "extensive amount of damage, they weren't able to narrow down the location or determine a cause of the fire.

ORIGINAL STORY: Fire officials confirm four people have died in a house fire in Three Oaks. Orville Kiernan, 77, and Leota Kiernan, 76, owned and lived in the home together and perished in the blaze. Also among the dead was their granddaughter, Anna Peek, 20, and her boyfriend Kyle Tyler, 19.

The Berrien County Medical Examiner concluded that all four deaths were due to smoke inhalation. The investigation of the fire turned up no traces of arson.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Young says the call came in for a fire in the 200-block of North Elm around 5:30 Thursday morning. It took crews 2 to 3 hours to full put out the fire.

"It'll burn for quite a while, the roof collapsed in on it, and we're having to get underneath, it's going to take quite awhile, we're going to have to dig to get most of the hotspots out so it doesn't start on fire again," says Young.

Young says no cause for the fire has been confirmed.  Young says the state fire investigators are taking over the investigation on the fire.  Police did say that the home had no working smoke detectors, and fire investigators have learned the elderly man who lived in the home was a heavy smoker.

The weather also added challenges, "We had some difficulties with ice, freezing of lines, fire hydrants were frozen," says Young.

Thursday evening, police plan on their K9 Unit to investigate the home for accelerants. Although police say the fire does not appear suspicious, this is protocol for any fire where there are fatalities.

FOX28 News will have updates on the investigation as new information becomes available.

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