Causes of 3 fatal fires in 2018 released

February 12, 2019

The Fort Wayne Fire Department on Monday released the causes of three fatal house fires last year.

Cooking was the cause of the Jan. 7 fire at 7608 Ensign Court. James Javar Rogers, 33, died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

Cooking also caused a Nov. 22 fire at 2337 Elyetta St. Evan C. Ehinger, 50, also died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

A Feb. 2 fire at 1211 Huestis Ave. was electrical, the fire department said. Nancy R. Gaff, 68, and Jack Lee Short, 60, both died from smoke inhalation. Short also had thermal burns.

All three were accidental, the fire department said. The coroner had ruled last year that the four deaths in those blazes were also accidental.

A total of 10 people died in seven house fires in Allen County in 2018, the most year in the county in nine years.

Causes have been determined in all but one fire. 

A fire that killed three people May 26 in the 9200 block of Wheelock Road is undetermined because of extensive damage, according to the Indiana Fire Marshal’s office. Larry B. Shaw II, 47; Amber Dawn Shaw, 43; and Elijah Shaw, 12; all died from injuries suffered in the blaze, though the manner in which they died is undetermined, the Allen County coroner said.

Other Allen County fatal fires in 2018:

• Eddie Lee Caldwell, 54, faces murder, arson, burglary and other charges in the Sept. 12 fire at 5613 S. Harrison St. The blaze killed his estranged wife, Lizzie Caldwell, 68, who died Sept. 28. He is accused of dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire. Her death was declared a homicide.

• The Indiana fire marshal ruled a liquefied petroleum gas leak sparked a Nov. 13 blaze at 5202 W. Wallen Road. Nathan L. Sliger, 55, died from smoke inhalation and thermal burns. His death and the fire were ruled accidental.

• An electric blanket caused an Oct. 28 fire that killed Jeffrey Wayne Rhoades, 55, at his Rohman Road home northeast of New Haven. He died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide intoxication. His death and the fire were ruled accidental.


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