[cifnmedia] Cause of fatal mobile home fire in St. Elmo may never be known

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2004 06:20:29 -0800 (PST)

Local News 

Cause of fatal mobile home fire in St. Elmo may never be known

By BILL GRIMES, Daily News
ST. ELMO - While investigators say there may be no way to pin down the cause of 
a fatal mobile home fire last month, a division chief for the Illinois State 
Fire Marshal's office says one thing has been determined.

"There appears to be nothing suspicious, but a direct cause is unknown," said 
Terry Ford with the fire marshal's office in Springfield.

Linda Barr, 56, died in the Feb. 15 fire, but not before she got her daughter 
Briana Cain, 15, out of the burning home. Briana has been hospitalized at 
Memorial Medical Center in Springfield since the fire, though her condition was 
recently upgraded to serious. She had been in critical condition for nearly two 
weeks after the fire.

Ford said investigators have determined the fire began at one end of the 
trailer and spread quickly. The trailer was reduced to rubble as a result of 
the blaze.

But Ford said the exact cause may never be known, though investigators compiled 
a list of "suspects."

"There were several space heaters in the area of origin," Ford said. "But we 
can't say exactly what started the fire, because of several items in the area 
that could have been involved."

Ford said the fire could have began by the placement of combustible items too 
close to a heat source, or a malfunction of one of the suspect items.

Ford said investigators have pieced together a theory on how Briana escaped 

"The theory is that the mother awoke and the fire was at her end of the 
trailer. She ran down to the other bedroom, woke her daughter up, and helped 
her out through a window before the smoke and heat overcame her," Ford said.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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