IFD Asked to Review Flora Fire Investigation
FLORA, Ind. -- The Indiana State Police is asking investigators from the Indianapolis Fire Department to review the Flora fire investigation.
The fire on Nov. 21, 2016 killed four sisters: Kionnie Welch, Kerriele McDonald, Keyara Phillips, and Keyana Davis, who ranged in age from 5 to 11.
Initially, investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office believed the fire was caused by wiring in the kitchen.
But, in January 2017, lead arson investigator Dennis Randle ruled that the fire was intentionally set and said accelerants had been found around the burned-out house.
Later that same month, Randle's findings were called into question by a Michigan fire investigator hired by the homeowner's insurance company.
In an email sent to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Fire Marshal Jim Greeson, and WTHR-TV, the investigator wrote:
"(The) press release by the State Fire Marshal about the conclusions of their investigation are NOT CORRECT, and completely based on speculation and NOT evidence."
"(Randle's) statement about 'accelerants' being discovered in 'several' locations is absolutely NOT based on any evidence discovered at the scene during the investigation; and the investigator Dennis Randle was not performing a proper Origin & Cause Investigation based on the current procedures."
Randle resigned shortly after word of the emails reached ISP Superintendent Doug Carter.
According to WIBC newsgathering partner RTV6, the peer review does not mean the investigation by Randle and ISP was done incorrectly.
Instead, RTV6 says, "ISP does not often investigate arson, so it asked IFD to look at the fire with a fresh set of eyes."
(Photo by RTV6.)