Cause of deadly mobile home fire in Casey still unknown

March 09, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - Authorities are still looking for clues to what started a mobile home fire early Sunday that claimed the life of 8-year-old Kari Leonard on Dry Creek Road in Northeastern Casey County.

The child died of smoke inhalation, according to a preliminary report by the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort. Casey County Coroner Tommy Clark pronounced the child dead Sunday morning at the scene of the fire where she was trapped in the burning debris.

"We still don't know the cause," said Danny Wolford, firefighter with Clementsville Volunteer Fire Department. "It apparently had something to do with the electrical system. The mobile home had natural gas, but the bottle was empty and shut off," he said.

The fire was totally engulfed when the first firefighters arrived," Wolford said. "By the time the equipment got there, it was almost gone."


He said the fire was at least 18 miles from either fire department. "We were batting zero when we started," he said.

He said that two mobiles were attached side-by-side and there was not exit on the trailer in the back. The front side had exits in the front and on one end.

The child's body was found near the back wall in the front trailer. "Evidentially, she got confused," Wolford said.

A relative said Kari ran the opposite direction when her grandmother, Vivian Hochstasser tried to get the child out. Another grandchild, 4-year-old Amber Monday, crawled to safety with her grandmother. They were taken to Casey County Hospital for treatment. Hoch-stasser was admitted to the hospital for treatment of burns to her back, head and hands. Amber suffered from smoke inhalation. She was treated and released.

Wolford said 10 firefighters from Clementsville, and another six from Brush Creek assisted with the water supply. Also, three volunteers with the Casey County Emergency Medical Service assisted.

State police arson investigator, Alex Wesley, and Detective Bill Gregory, along with state Fire Marshal Doug Silver are also investigating.

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