The Wheaton Fire Chief says smoke detectors sounded inside the building, but the manual pull fire alarms on the outside of the building were disabled.
Four adults and one child died in
that apartment fire on Thanksgiving morning. It happened at the Blue Ridge
Jonathan "Jay" Gemmecke, 32, and Molly Doherty, 54, were in one apartment. Mary Henning, 43, her 8-year-old son Brandon Thurston, and Henning's boyfriend, Corey Hasche, 23, were in another unit. Dohery's 23-year-old daughter Ellen escaped without injury. Coroner Jim Fohn says all five victims died of smoke inhalation.
The state fire marshal says due to the extent of the damage, investigators are unable to determine a cause.
Fire Chief Bob Lombard says fire
crews responded to the apartments around on Thanksgiving. The building was
fully involved and fire crews from
Chief Lombard says the fire originated on the southwest side of the second floor of the building. There was no evidence that it was intentionally set and investigators say they were unable to rule out the possibility of an electrical malfunction.
The chief says some of the residents from the apartment reported hearing smoke alarms go off, but he also says there were reports the manual fire alarms weren't working.
"The manager says they check them regularly. That's all I can go by as far as smoke alarms, but the fire alarms didn't work. They didn't work. They were not operable. They were turned off."
The State Fire Marshal's Office says
The City of
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