Two Die In South Bend House Fire

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

Two people are dead after a fire breaks out their South Bend home Sunday night. Now investigators are trying to figure out what sparked the fire.

The South Bend Fire department says 22-year-old Frank Flowers and 19-year-old La Shonda Butler lost their lives. It happened at their home in the 15-hundred block of Fremont Street.

Because there are two deaths, the Fire Chief says it's standard procedure to call Metro Homicide in to investigate.

Around midnight Sunday, firefighters were called to 1522 Fremont Street, on South Bend’s Northwest side.

“The whole top of the house was engulfed in flames,” says neighbor Yakira McLeod.

Inside, firefighters found the bodies of a Butler and Flowers. A short time later, the two victims were pronounced dead at a local hospital. “I hate to see tragedy happen like that, hate to see anybody get hurt,” says neighbor Harry Simpson.

Saddened by the news, neighbors say the people that lived in the home were new to the neighborhood, having moved in just a couple of weeks ago. “I'm sorry I wasn't able to be any help,” adds Simpson.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing, the Fire Chief says it looks like it started in the kitchen. He says it doesn't appear foul play is to blame, but Metro Homicide isn't ruling anything out yet. The Chief says the smoke alarms were going off in the home when firefighters arrived. “When we got there, the smoke detectors were activating,” says South Bend Fire Chief Howard Buchanon.

Whether the two victims didn't hear them or were sleeping is another question. Buchanon says sometimes people don't treat the alarm warnings as the real thing. “That's the second nature of it all, we have gotten calm about fire alarms and just alarm systems totally, they're there for us but we don't react like we should.”

The Saint Joseph County Coroner Chuck Hurley completed autopsies on both victims Monday. Hurley says preliminary autopsy results show the two died of smoke inhalation.

Investigators say foul play was not suspected in this case and now, after investigation, police have confirmed that no evidence of homicide involved.

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