Details about deaths of mother, children pulled from house fire still unknown

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County Coroner’s Office has released the cause of the deaths of a mother and two children who died after a house fire in southwest Allen County in September.

The manner of their deaths, though, remains undetermined.

On Thursday, the coroner’s office released a report on the Sept. 24, 2020, fire at a home in the 3800 block of Chancery Place, inside the Heather Ridge subdivision near Coventry Lane and Aboite Center Road. Janice Ann Williams, 2-year-old Hazel Oliva Deford and 11-month-old Lily Eloise Deford were pulled from the home, and died afterward while hospitalized.

The report said Janice Williams, 33, died of smoke inhalation, as did young Hazel Deford. Lily Deford died of anoxic brain injury due to smoke inhalation, the coroner’s office said.

The manner of their deaths are still undetermined, however, according to the coroner’s report.

Details on the deaths have been pending since the fire.

The coroner’s office said in its report that the Fort Wayne Fire Department had completed its investigation into the fire. The fire department has not released its findings.

It was just before 5 a.m. when firefighters were called to the home on a report of a fire. Crews arrived and found Williams and three children in the home. They were taken to local hospitals.

Firefighters were able to get the fire out quickly. The home sustained moderate smoke and fire damage.

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