Officials: Faulty Wiring Likely Sparked Fire That Killed 4

KCCI.com

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By Aaron Hepker

LAKE CITY, Iowa — Investigators believe faulty wiring in a living room light was the likely cause of a fire that killed four members of the Pierson family in Lake City Tuesday.

Killed in the fire at 703 Illinois Street were Tyra Pierson, 22, and her 11-month-old son Xavier, Madison Pierson, 8, and Wyatt Pierson, 3.

Lake City Police Chief Bobby Rist said one of his officers on patrol overnight noticed smoke coming from the south edge of town.

"From a block away I could see that the residence was on fire. There was flames coming out of the north side window of the residence," said Dana Cook, Lake City police officer.

Rist said the officer tried to get inside the home but couldn't because of the smoke and flames.

"I tried to gain access to the residence and couldn't because of the smoke and the heat. Visibility inside the house was very very low and it was really really hot," said Cook.

Officials said the fire started sometime before 1:45 a.m. When fire crews arrived they found the home fully engulfed and flames shooting through the windows.

It took two hours to knock down the fire enough for firefighters to get inside. Firefighters then had to dig using their hands through the debris to gain access.

The four were then found dead inside the house.

The home did not have any working smoke detectors, officials said.

The State Fire Marshal said the fire is not considered suspicious, but the cause remains under investigation.

The parents were at work when the fire started. Several hours after the fire they came back to the house briefly to see if there was anything they could salvage.

A fund has been setup at United Bank to help the family. They did not have insurance on the house.

The loss of four young lives has shaken many who live in the small community.

"The community is just going to really be aching from something like this. We've had tragedy before and it's something that pulls together every time and we'll pull together once more," said Diane Sommerfeld, a Lake City resident.

Lake City is located about 20 miles northeast of Carroll.
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