FATAL FIRE: Coesse house fire claims two lives

COLUMBIA CITY — Two men are dead after a late-night fire Wednesday. Just before midnight, firefighters were called to 2480 Barr Street, in southeast Coesse, to a fully engulfed house fire.According to fire scanner traffic, five people were in the home when it caught ablaze, including two children and three adults.The children and two of the adults, the children’s grandparents, made it out of the home safely. Fire officials say the children’s father was still trapped inside, and the grandfather went back into the home to rescue his son-in-law, but never returned. According to Union Township Fire Chief Chad Radke, one body was found in the kitchen near the refrigerator, and the other was in a back bedroom.Whitley County Coroner Randy Dellinger is working to positively identify the men. According to Whitley County GIS, the property is owned by David and Trina Burkett, and was valued at $34,400.Crews continued to quell the blaze through Thursday morning, and Indiana State Fire Marshal Mike Vogely was investigating the scene.The home was reduced to rubble, after four fire departments worked through the night to control the blaze. When firefighters arrived at the home, flames were billowing from the roof and most of the home was ablaze, according to fire scanner traffic.Fire officials said crews had to attack the fire from the outside with water. While most of the flames were controlled by 1 a.m., firefighters weren’t able to get inside the home for several hours due to safety reasons. Radke said when the fire started, one of the children inside woke up the grandparents. The grandmother told fire officials that it appeared the fire was more concentrated around a wood-burning stove, but officials aren’t able to confirm or rule out the stove as the cause of the fire.The fire remains under investigation. Names of the deceased were not available at press time.