Dec. 13--KETTERING -- Investigators are still working to determine the cause of a horrific fire that swept through and gutted a Kettering two-story home and killed a Navy veteran, his daughter and two small grandsons. Three people escaped from the home. The deaths increased the total fire fatalities in Montgomery County to 12 this year.
This has been the deadliest year for fatal fires in Montgomery County since 2006, according to the Division of State Fire Marshal. There were 15 fire fatalities in Montgomery County in 2006.
Only the charred first-floor frame remains at 1963 Craig Drive, where the family of seven lived. When police arrived on scene just before 4 a.m Thursday., the home was fully engulfed, officials said. Investigators said Thursday afternoon that there was no evidence of a working smoke detector in the home.
"There was absolutely no hope, from the time the first crews arrived, that anybody could be rescued," said Kettering Fire Battalion Chief Jon Durrenberg.
The fire also caused significant damage to two neighboring houses.
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office positively identified Forrest Carroll, 76, as one of the victims. The office tentatively identified the other three people who died as Alicia Mobley, 36; Shaun N. Mobley Jr., 4; and Jacob S. Mobley, 2. Carroll was found deceased outside of the home. The other three victims were found inside once the blaze was extinguished.
An adult and two children survived the blaze, according to Durrenberg. Two firefighters and a police officer also were injured but the extent of the injuries wasn't clear. Durrenberg said the officers were "OK," on Thursday.
Fire officials have not released the names of the survivors. However, John Weber, Carroll's son-in-law and Mobley's brother-in-law, said one of the survivors is Shaun Mobley Sr. Kettering City School officials said a third grader and eighth grader in the district also survived, but provided no additional information.
Weber said he arrived at the scene around 4:15 a.m. and the "house was already gone."
"We're just all in shock," Weber said. "We lost four special people."
Weber said Carroll, nicknamed "Frosty," was a Navy veteran and former employee at GM and NCR. Mobley was an LPN nurse at the Sycamore Glen nursing facility, while the two boys enjoyed playing with trucks. Shaun Jr. turned 4 years old on Wednesday and the family was planning to celebrate his birthday on Saturday, he said. Weber confirmed that Carroll was Mobley's father.
Mobley Sr. is at Kettering Medical Center, Weber said. Elizabeth Long, spokeswoman for the Kettering Health Network, could not confirm or provide any information about Mobley Sr., citing privacy laws.
The Kettering City School District has crisis management teams at Indian Riffle School, 3090 Glengarry Drive, and Kettering Middle School, 3000 Glengarry Drive, according to Kari Basson, district spokeswoman.
Shaun Mobley Jr. was in the preschool program at Indian Riffle. The third grader who survived the fire also is a student at Indian Riffle. An eighth grader who survived is a student at Kettering Middle School.
Larry Graf, who lives at 1950 Craig Drive, said he was awakened by someone yelling outside around 3:40 a.m. He said he got dressed, made his way downstairs, and by that time, "the house was fully engulfed."
"The flames were pretty intense," Graf said. "I was right here (at my doorstep) and I could feel the heat. My heart goes out to the family."
James Macher, 1955 Craig Drive, ran outside to see if he could help Mobley Sr., but the fire was so intense he couldn't walk up the driveway or go around to the back of the house.
James and his wife, Sarah, provided blankets, clothes and warmth in their home to the survivors and other neighbors who were affected by the fire.