Fatal Macomb fire under investigation

UPDATED: Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

Funeral services for Austin and Mindy Smith are now set. A memorial service for both children will be held Thursday, September 30 at 2:00 p.m. at the Macomb Church of the Nazerene.

There will be no visitation.

Clugston-Tibbits Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


UPDATED: Monday, Sep 27, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.

The cause of Friday's fatal fire in Macomb should be determined this week. In a news conference Monday morning, Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor told KHQA the parents of four-year-old Mindy Smith and 6-year-old Austin Smith were not inside the home at the time of the fire. Taylor told us the mother, Dendy Smith, was visiting friends a few trailers down from her own. The father, Charles Smith, had been sleeping inside the home, but awoke and walked outside the trailer some time before the fire began.The two children were asleep in their beds at the time.

We spoke with people first on the scene.

"I was the first on the scene. It looked pretty grim," said Chief Taylor. "The trailer was about 3/4 fully engulfed with fire."

Fire crews parked two trucks on either side of the trailer hoping to extinguish it as quickly as possible. Once the fire started, Charles Smith tried busting through windows to get to his children, but the flames were too much.

"It was just engulfed in flames. One of the guys here in the trailer court pulled him out and told him, "It's too late, there's nothing you can do,'" said Candy Clark.

"You still hope for the best, but obviously, the worst happened," said Taylor.

"Things like this happen, but you never think it will happen where you live," said Clark.

Since Friday, family and friends have created a makeshift memorial outside what used to be the Smith's home.

"I love Austin and Mindy. I'll miss them," said Morgan Mathena, 5, Austin's classmate and friend.

The Smiths were just one day away from moving to South Carolina.

Chief Taylor told us the family was not using electricity, instead they were using candles to light the home. He's also waiting on results from the children's autopsies performed Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the Macomb School District has established a fund on behalf of the Smith Family. The community is asked to donate to the "Austin Smith Memorial Fund" at the Mid-America National Bank. Funds will help defray Austin and Mindy's funeral costs and other expenses. Austin was a kindergarten student at Lincoln School. Clugston-Tibbits Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Saturday, the Macomb Police Department wrapped up its investigation on a mobile home fire that killed two children Friday night. McDonough County Coroner Eric Jameson confirmed Saturday that Austin C. Smith, 6, and Mindy F. Smith, 4, were killed in the blaze at 1507 E. Jackson St., lot 8.

A neighbor realized the mobile home was on fire and called 911 shortly after 10:00 p.m. Neighbors told KHQA several people in the mobile home park tried to rescue the two children, kicking down the back door and windows, but the flames were overbearing. One person said he could hear the children yelling for help in the back bedroom, but by the time he realized where they were, it was too late.

The family was due to move from the home Saturday.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday Morning. The Macomb Police Department will also hold a press conference at 9:00 a.m. Monday to discuss the details.

Click here to read the story from The McDonough County Voice.