13 Investigates: Mother of girls killed in 2016 Flora fire files federal lawsuit

Keyana Davis, 11; Keyara Phillips, 9; Kerriele McDonald, 7; and Kionnie Welch, 5; were killed in a November 2016 house fire in Flora, Ind. It was later ruled to be arson.
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HAMMOND, Ind. (WTHR) - The mother of four girls killed in a house fire in Flora almost two years ago has filed a federal lawsuit against her landlord and a product liability case.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana, Gaylin Rose says her daughters Keyana, Kerriele, Keyara, and Kionna died November 21, 2016 from smoke inhalation from a fire inside their Carroll County rental home where there were no working smoke detectors.

Investigators initially determined the fire started from an appliance, then ruled the fire as arson and are searching for a suspect.

In the lawsuit, Rose says Joshua Ayres, Troy Helderman and their company, Birch Tree Holdings, was negligent in providing no working smoke detectors in the rental home.

The lawsuit also makes a product liability claim against Sears and Whirlpool, claiming an oven/range, made by Whirlpool and sold by Sears, possibly started the fire.

13 Investigates will have more developments on this case as the second anniversary of the tragedy approaches November 21.