Smoke detector not working in fatal mobile home fire

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Fire in rural Sherrard Illinois 3-27-13 (WQAD Photo)

Investigators said the smoke detector was not functioning during a fire that killed a woman and four children and destroyed a home in rural Sherrard, Illinois.

Eight people were in a mobile home near 300th Street and 140th Avenue when the fire broke out early Wednesday morning, March 27, 2013.  Fire engulfed the home.

An adult man and two boys escaped the fire.  The fire claimed the lives of Anna Viager, her daughter Breana, and Jessica Harker, Holli Harker and Cassandra Turner who were at the home for a sleepover.

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A statement from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said they, along with Illinois State Police Crime Services and the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office completed their investigation of the fire.

The investigation determined the fire started in the southwest part of the mobile home but they were unable to determine the exact location.

“The investigation was unable to rule anything in or out as the cause,” the statement said, so the cause of the fire was ruled “undetermined.”

Fire investigators determined there was one smoke detector in the home but it was “not functioning at the time of the fire.”