(Fremont, IN) (1-15-23) – The Indiana State Police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are currently investigating an early morning house fire in the town of Fremont, which claimed the lives of a mother and her three children.
The four victims have been positively identified by the Steuben County Coroner’s Office as: Rebecca White (37) of Fremont, her son Emmett Freed (5), and her two daughters- Eleanor Freed (3) and Alaura Freed (21 months).
According to the Steuben County dispatch record, at 5:02am this morning, a 911 call was received reporting a house fire at 400 E. Toledo Street, Fremont. The Fremont Fire Department was dispatched and on scene at approximately 5:09am, at which time they found a working house fire. Angola, Orland, and Ashley-Hudson Fire Department(s) were also dispatched to the scene.
Firefighters located three children and an adult female inside the burning structure. All four victims were transported to Cameron Hospital in Angola. The three children were pronounced deceased at the hospital. The adult female was flown from Cameron Hospital by Parkview Samaritan helicopter to the burn center at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where she eventually succumbed to her injuries and died.
At this time, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is currently on scene and conducting their investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. Preliminarily, according to the SFMO the fire appears to have started on the second floor in an area that was not occupied at the time. At this early stage of the investigation, it appears all four occupants were believed to be in a single bedroom. The SFMO’s investigation will take time to complete, and that information may not be readily available for some time.
The Steuben County Coroner’s office has confirmed identities of all four deceased, however that information will be withheld pending notification of extended family members. Autopsies for the three children and the mother are expected to take place tomorrow at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne, which will serve to confirm the cause and manner of death.
The Indiana State Police will be coordinating information with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Steuben County Coroner’s Office to determine if there was a criminal element to this fire incident.
This is an active ongoing investigation.
Agencies working on scene: the Indiana State Police, Indiana State Fire Marshals Office, Fremont/Angola/Orland/Ashley-Hudson Fire Departments, Fremont Police, Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, Steuben County EMS, Steuben County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Steuben County Coroner’s Office.