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No smoke detectors in home of fatal fire, official says

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 8:09 AM
Updated: Friday, December 13, 2013 @ 10:15 AM
By: Breaking News Staff

While the cause of a fire that took the life of a grandfather, mother and two young children in Kettering Thursday morning is still unknown, the State Fire Marshal has determined that there were no working smoke detectors in the home on Craig Drive.

The four people killed in the blaze have been tentatively identified by the Montgomery County Coroner's office as Forrest Carroll, 76; Alicia Carroll-Mobley, 36; Shaun N. Mobley Jr., 4; and Jacob S. Mobley, 2 years old.

Forrest Carroll was found deceased outside of the home on Craig Drive while the other three victims were located inside once the fire was extinguished.

A Kettering fire official said there was, "absolutely no hope," of rescuing anyone inside the home when fire crews arrived early this morning to intense heat and flames.

Alicia's husband Shaun Mobley Sr. and their two daughters escaped the fire, which damaged two neighboring homes.

Alicia Mobley's brother-in-law John Weber said Shaun Mobley Sr. was injured in the fire and is recovering at Kettering Medical Center. He said the family was planning to gather at the home on Saturday to celebrate Shaun Mobley Jr.'s 4th birthday, which was Wednesday.

Weber also confirmed that Forrest Carroll was Alicia's father.

Kari Basson, community relations coordinator for the Kettering City School District, said the district was contacted by a school resource officer with the Kettering Police Department and told some of their students were involved in the fire on Craig Drive. District officials have assembled crisis management teams at Indian Riffle School and Kettering Middle School.

Shaun Mobley Jr. was in the preschool program at Indian Riffle.

Basson said a third grader who survived the fire is also a student at Indian Riffle and an 8th grader who survived is a student at the middle school.

Staff at the middle school are trying to coordinate fund raising efforts for the family. A donation drive and account for the family have also been advertised on social media today. A "Mobley Family Fund" has also been established through Fifth Third Bank.

The home in the 1900 block of Craig Drive is completely destroyed, having collapsed into the basement. A home to the south also caught fire and suffered extensive damage, while the home to the north was damaged by heat from the flames.

When police first arrived on scene just before 4 a.m. the home was fully engulfed.

A man was outside the home and the responding police officer attempted to save him, but the intense heat prevented the officer from making it to the victim, Kettering Police Lt. Craig Moore said.

Police said they believe that man initially escaped the home unharmed but went back into the burning structure.

The victim was pronounced dead on the scene and the officer suffered minor injuries, Moore said. Officer J.P. Jung drove to the hospital for treatment of minor heat related injuries.

Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze and were removed to the hospital.

Kettering Fire Battalion Chief Jon Durrenberg said that man was found in the driveway and the three additional victims were found inside the home.

"Where they were at the time of the fire is hard to determine because of the damage to the house," he said. "That's still under investigation."

The investigation into the cause of the fire has been turned over to the State Fire Marshal's office.

"Although we do not yet know what caused this tragic loss of life, I want to remind everyone that working smoke detectors save lives," said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers in a statement Thursday afternoon. "It is so important that everyone have a functioning smoke alarm in their home and have an escape plan with at least two ways out."

Emergency crews received a 911 call from neighbors around 3:50 a.m. reporting flames shooting from the home.

"Around 3:40 a.m. I heard somebody yelling, 'Is anybody in the house, is anybody in the house?'" said neighbor Larry Graf. "The flames were pretty intense...You could feel the heat from it."

Firefighters arrived and attempted to make entry into the residence, but were unable to because of the extent of the flames, Moore said.

Durrenberg said firefighters worked to remove the man found in the driveway and then concentrated their efforts on extinguishing the fire.

"There was absolutely no hope from the time the first crews arrived that anybody could be rescued," Durrenberg said.