Family: Fatal Nineveh fire was accidental

Mother remains in critical condition

NINEVEH, Ind. - Officials are continuing their investigation to determine a cause of the fatal Nineveh fire that killed two young children and critically injured their mother.

The family of Sirena Slusher-Abbott told RTV6 that investigators have determined the fire at the upstairs apartment was accidental, but at this point, how it started remains unknown.

Family members said they have stayed at Abbott’s bedside since Friday’s fire.

Abbott managed to save her 5-year-old daughter, but her 18-month-old daughter Haley Lynn and her 6-month-old son John Ryan died in the fire. Abbott’s husband was at work at the time of the fire.

Dispatchers said it took eight minutes from the time the 911 call was made for the all-volunteer fire department to begin putting water on the fire.

Officials said the flames were driven by strong winds.

"As far as we know, and the investigators have come to the conclusion, that it was accidental and no foul play was involved, and that it started in the upstairs apartment in their residence," family member Jesse Frick said. "She couldn't have been in the condition she's in without risking her life for the lives of her babies. She's an amazing person."

The response to the tragedy from the small town and beyond has resulted in donations of clothing and cash for the family.

"It definitely hits close to home as a father of two and I'm married. You put yourself in those situations and I can't imagine what this father's going through," Rick Woehlecke of the Nineveh Fire Department said.

More on how to help the victims -- http://bit.ly/19Xn6IY

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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