Fatal Nineveh fire sparked by toddler with candle

NINEVEH, Ind. - A toddler playing with a burning candle led to the fatal Nineveh fire that claimed the lives of two children and their mother , according to a coroner's report.

The report, released Thursday, said witness testimony led investigators to conclude that 18-month-old Hailey Lynn Slusher-Abbott had been playing with a burning candle in the living room, ultimately sparking the fatal fire.

Hailey Lynn and her 6-month-old brother John Ryan were killed in the fire. Their mother, Sirena Slusher-Abbott, was able to save a 5-year-old daughter, Allie, but was badly injured in the process. She eventually succumbed to her wounds at an Indianapolis hospital a few days later.

The father, Christopher Abbott, was at work at the time of the fire.

The fire rocked the small community, with numerous individuals and businesses pitching in to help the grieving 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," said Nineveh firefighter Rick Woehlecke.

Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz said investigators have now closed the case.

"A heartfelt thank you goes to the Nineveh Community who came forward in the time of need to show their support for the surviving family members," Lutz said. "Investigators have closed the case; however we want to keep the family in your thoughts and prayers."

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