Victim's name, cause released of fire at Dublin Village

Firefighters now know the cause of a blaze, which injured Jessika Lapres, 21, at the Dublin Village Townhomes.

The blaze started around 3:30 a.m. in a three-floor unit along the 100-block of Clancey Street in Roseland on Monday.

Clay Fire Investigators with the assistance of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office have determined the cause of the fire as a “heat source too close to combustibles."

Basically charcoal was placed too close to charcoal lighter fluid.

Because of the complex’s proximity to Indiana State Road 933 and the Toll Road on-ramp, a clerk at the nearby Jameson Inn spotted the flames and dialed 911.

Within minutes, St. Joseph County Police and firefighters with Clay Fire Territory arrived to find Lapres lying unconscious in the grass outside her burning home.

"She walked out through the garage door and that's about what she remembers," Clay Fire Territory Marshal Dave Cherrone said.

An eyewitness on the scene tells NewsCenter 16, the woman appeared to have no pulse and was completely limp. Officials with Clay Fire Territory say Lapres is from the Grand Rapids, Mich. area and had recently moved into the complex; one frequented by many Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College students.

By the time firefighters established hose lines, fire and smoke that started in the garage had spread throughout the entire structure, with bright orange flames spewing from the second and third floor windows.

Once hoses were setup, it took firefighters about 20 minutes to knock down most of the flames -- a quick save they attribute to the craftsmanship.

"The way they're built and the way they're maintained," Cherrone said. "It's required to have a certain amount of dry wall or fire resistance between the occupancies."

Even with the firewalls, some flames spread to the attic of the home next door, with smoke and water damage spreading throughout all three floors.

"The one next to it has some damage to the ceiling where the firefighters pulled the ceiling out to contain it," he said. "It doesn't have structural damage. It's just some cosmetics."

In total, the destruction tops $300,000. Investigators say the unit where the fire started will be gutted and rebuilt from scratch.

About seven residents who live in neighboring homes were displaced by the fire because of smoke and water damage. They're staying in hotels until the scene is cleaned-up.

Although investigators have not said what exactly sparked the blaze, a representative with the Dublin Village Homeowner's Association said in an email, "a still hot BBQ grille brought into the garage and placed next to an automobile" is to blame.

The woman living in the affected townhome was treated for smoke inhalation and burns at a South Bend hospital before she was released Monday afternoon to her parents.


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