Imlay Police: Fatal fire started in mobile home living room
Imlay City Police said a Tuesday fire that killed four children and injured three other people originated in the family's living room.
Police originally suspected the fire in the Maple Grove mobile home park may have been caused by a faulty furnace or space heater, but that "has proven to be incorrect," Imlay City police Chief Scott Pike said Friday.
"(Michigan State Police Fire Marshal's office) have determined that the furnace was most likely on and in proper working condition," Pike said. "There was no evidence of any use of space heaters or other alternative heat sources."
While the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal's office, the organization investigating the fire, has not been able to determine a definite cause of the fire, they know it originated in the living-room area of the home.
"The cause of the fire (if able to be determined) will depend on additional investigation and interviews," Pike said.
Four children perished in the fire — Keyairah Kelley, who was 29 days old; Keyanna, 3, Keyondre, 5, and Keith, 6. All died of smoke inhalation, Pike said.
The fire began around 3:05 a.m. Tuesday and consumed the family's mobile home in the 2000 block of South Almont, police said.
The children's parents, identified as Krystal Whitney, 29, and Keith Kelley, 42 were injured in the fire along with 19-month-old Keyshawn. Whitney sustained severe burns to more than 20 percent of her body while Kelley suffered extensive severe burns and remains at Hurley Hospital. Keyshawn has severe burns to his back.
Pike said an investigation continued into the cause of the fire. It wasn't clear if there were working fire detectors in the home, Pike said.
Jessica Shimmell, who has known Whitney for 16 years, launched a GoFundMe page to aid the family's recovery. By Friday, the page had raised $22,000.
Pike said a number of GoFundMe pages have been started in the family's name, but he preferred that people make to donations to a fund the family set up at the Imlay City branch of Lakestone Bank & Trust at 1875 S. Cedar St. Donors can call (810) 724-4652 for details.
He said St. Paul's Lutheran Church is collecting clothing and goods for the family. Donations can be dropped off at the church at 200 North Cedar Street. Call (810) 724-1200.