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2 girls identified in deadly Clinton County house fire

The Rossville Fire Chief said two adults and an infant were able to get out of the home safely. The victims were 5 and 12 years old.

ROSSVILLE, Ind. — Two children died in a fire Friday morning in Clinton County. After autopsies on Saturday the coroner identified the girls as 5-year-old Amelia Heid and 12-year-old Shea Heid. 

The coroner's report listed smoke inhalation as the cause of death for both.

The Rossville Fire Chief said they received a call of a house fire around 2:30 a.m. Clinton County Sheriff Rich Kelly said the 911 call came from within the house.

A sheriff's deputy arrived at the 2100 block of West 700 North to find a single-story home on fire. They went into the home, but were not able to find the two children that were reported as being trapped inside.

"The first deputy who arrived on scene did attempt to get in the house, made it into the house and then was pushed back by flames, from smoke and debris that came into the ceiling. So, it's hard to console those people that we did the best we could," said Sheriff Rich Kelly.

Firefighters arrived and during an initial search and crews found the girls dead. 

Two adults and a baby girl were able to get out of the home safely. They are now staying with family nearby.

"We thank our state agencies and those of surrounding counties for coordinating a response effort and giving us support to effectively deal with this event. Our chaplains will remain available to all family members and first responders," Kelly said. "Most of the firemen, all have children the same age, pretty darn close, and so it hits home."

The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating to determine the cause of the fire. As of Jan. 21, investigators had not determined what started the fire. Investigators told 13News they are waiting until a structural assessment can be done to determine it is safe for them to go into the home.

Dr. Jim Hanna, Superintendent at Rossville Consolidated School District, released the following statement on the deaths.

"Rossville Consolidated School District was saddened to learn of the loss of life of one of our students and their sibling in a structure fire earlier this morning. The Superintendent learned of the 2:30 a.m. fire at approximately 3:30 a.m. The building level administrators were notified and the district’s emergency response plan was implemented. At 7:35 a.m. the administration met with the K-12 staff to notify them of the tragedy. As the meeting was concluding the school building principal received a verifying message from the parent confirming their sixth-grade student and sibling perished in the fire. School counselors and community clergy were brought in to help with grieving students. School staff and local clergy continue to provide assistance for students in need. Rossville community members have also reached out to the family to help assist during this trying time."

There is a GoFundMe page raising money for the family's clothing and funeral expenses.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is reminding people of the importance of working smoke detectors. Be sure to check batteries often, and ensure you have an exit plan with your family in the event of a fire. If you are in need of smoke detectors, you can find them free of charge by clicking here.

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