US

3 Children, 2 Adults Die in Illinois ‘Inferno’ Trailer Fire

By The Associated Press

GOODFIELD, Ill.—A central Illinois mobile home fire that neighbors called an “inferno” left three young children and two adults dead, authorities said.

The victims of the late blaze on April 6 were identified as Ariel Wall, 1, Rose Alwood and Damien Wall, both 2, Jason Wall, 34, and Kathryn Murray, 69, Woodford County Coroner Tim Ruestman said Sunday, April 7. He pronounced them dead at 11:55 p.m. Saturday in a mobile home park in the village of Goodfield, about 20 miles southeast of Peoria. Two other people were treated and released at a Peoria hospital.

Neighbor AnnaMarie Siebert described the fire as an “inferno” and “fireball.”

“It was absolutely heart-wrenching, because you could hear the screams, and then, you didn’t hear all the screams anymore,” she said.

All seven victims were relatives and autopsies done Sunday in Bloomington found the five deaths were fire-related, Ruestman said.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. State and local authorities are investigating.

Melted vinyl siding hung from the trailer and insulation and other debris littered the lawn Sunday at Timberline Mobile Home Park. The mobile home had a gaping hole in the roof and its remains were boarded with plywood and covered with blue tarpaulins.

Park manager Shawn Johnson said a tenant alerted him about the fire and he arrived shortly before emergency crews.

“The heat was just overwhelming,” he said. “There was nothing you could do at that point.”

Worker Killed in Second Texas Chemical Fire in 2 Weeks, Federal Agency to Investigate

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced on April 3 that it will investigate a fire at a Houston area chemical plant as the facility’s operator identified the worker killed in the blaze.

James Earl Mangum was killed in the Tuesday fire at a KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, about 25 miles northeast of Houston, a company spokesman said. The two other workers who were injured during the blaze remain in critical condition. Their identities were not released.

An autopsy found that Mangum’s accidental death was caused by “sharp force injuries” that cut a major artery and vein in his right arm, a spokesman for Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said.

The Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical incidents, said it will join other agencies probing the cause of the deadly fire. It is also investigating the March 17 blaze at a petrochemical storage facility in nearby Deer Park .

Texas chemical plant
Fire breaks out at the KMCO Chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, on April 2, 2019. (Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office via AP)

All operations at the KMCO plant are suspended indefinitely and the site is under control of Texas fire officials, according to the company.

Fire investigators haven’t yet been able to enter the plant because of ongoing clean up and emergency operations, said Rachel Moreno of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

County officials said Wednesday that ongoing air monitoring shows no health risks to the area around the plant.