Two weeks later: Family mourns loss of mother in St. Joe fire

Local News

The family of Karen Hensinger, who lost her life in a house fire in DeKalb County on March 7th spoke out for the first time since that night. They said the last two weeks have been a blur. 

Matthew McClain, Karen’s son-in-law, said that whole night “felt like a bad dream.” 

McClain described Karen as someone who “never met a stranger” and who liked to “poke fun at you.” 

McClain said Karen had nicknames for almost everyone she knew. His was “Goofus” because of his southern drawl. 

“Karen was a very loving person.” McClain said. “She didn’t know a stranger. If you come up to her door, she’s going to talk to you.” 

Firefighters told them Karen was with her dog under a blanket in her room when she died. The dog also died in the fire. The family buried Karen with the dog. 

Karen’s husband is now living with McClain and his wife while things like insurance get sorted out. McClain’s wife said he “doesn’t want t to live in a house that killed Mom.” The two had been married for 48 years. 

Karen had lived in Allen and DeKalb Counties most of her life which led to her funeral being “packed” according to McClain. 

Karen was 72 years old and a grandmother to McClain’s six-year-old daughter.  

McClain said telling his daughter that her grandma died in a fire was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” 

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire. 

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