Iowa father discusses losing his sons in Mason City house fire

For the first time, we're hearing from the father of four boys who died in a house fire this month in northern Iowa.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 12:26 PM CST
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MASON CITY, Iowa (KIMT via CNN) - An Iowa father is mourning the loss of his four sons, killed in a house fire on Nov. 16.

The boys were 12, 10, six and three years of age.

The grieving dad shared how he did all he could to try to save the boys, but he just was not able to make it to them.

John-Mikal McLuer Sr. said he wants the community to know he loves his boys to death.

McLuer battled the flames to try and get his four sons out of the house.

“I opened up the window, when I ripped the screen off, I believe I was blown out the window,” McLuer said.

His arms show the severe burns, evidence he did everything he could to try and save the boys.

“I tried to go back in the house again and the police officer grabbed me and said ‘Let’s go this way, let’s go to the ambulance,’” he said. “I was fighting with him and Ravan said, ‘No dad, they’re probably gone already.’”

Now he and his wife Angela are doing their best to rebuild their lives, knowing they will never see their sons again.

“Just having them in my presence, period,” McLeur said. “I don’t care if they hug me, or they’re mad at me or anything, just having them around is going to be the hardest thing to miss.”

McLeur also shared some favorite memories of his cherished sons.

“Junior wanted to be a Lego master builder,” he said. “Odin was just a Toy Story nut. He loved everything about Toy Story. He loved Buzz Lightyear. And Draco, man... it seems like Draco was just the annoying one. He was always getting yelled at by his sister, ‘Draco don’t do that.’ He was always getting yelled at by his brother, ‘Draco, give me that back, I was playing with that!’ I call Phenix, Moon-Ivar, because that’s what I called him, all his life. When Draco would play with Ivar, those two were like two peas in a pod.”

Coping with the trauma is a day-by-day process for the McLeurs.

“Mostly it feels like I failed them,” he said. “I’m their dad. I’m supposed to get them out of the fire. I’m supposed to protect them. I’m supposed to be the one to get stuck in there. Not them. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids.”

He says every family needs to have a fire escape plan, to avoid a tragedy like he’s going through.

“Please, please, run your fire drills at your home,” he implored. “Drum that into their brains.”

Firefighters ruled the fire accidental, blaming it on a faulty electrical power strip.

People in Mason City held a vigil to honor the lives of the four children earlier this month.