Indiana house demolition nears after deadly fire

NINEVEH, Ind. - The burned frame of a central Indiana house should soon be torn down after a fire killed a woman and two of her young children six months ago.

The investigation of what caused the Nov. 22 fire prevented demolition of the apartment house in the Johnson County town of Nineveh, owner Ken McKee said.

McKee told the Daily Journal  he expected the house will be torn down in the coming weeks and that he won't be rebuilding it.

Investigators last month blamed the fire on a child playing with a burning candle. Authorities said 18-month-old Hailey Lynn Slusher-Abbott and 6-month-old John Slusher-Abbott died after becoming trapped inside the burning apartment. Their mother, 27-year-old Sirena Slusher-Abbott, was able to save a 5-year-old daughter, Allie, but was badly injured and died from her wounds a few days later.

The children's father, Christopher Abbott, was at work when the fire started. He has said he'd like the site to become a park.

The property has become a dumping spot for trash, and several residents have complained to the township trustee's office about the house, Trustee Janet Renner said.

"It's a heartache. It's a hazard. There are open puddles of water that are 5 or 6 inches deep," she said. "It's starting to be a garbage dump now."

The house was a duplex McKee rented to the Abbotts upstairs and another tenant downstairs. The downstairs tenant was at work during the fire in the small town about 25 miles south of Indianapolis.

Darlene Mudd, who owns Head to Toe Salon & Spa across from the house, said it was past time for the burnt house to be torn down and that among the first comments her new customers make are about the house.

"It's been long enough, is all I can say," she said. "Until you're there, people don't know how it affects you on a daily basis."

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