Arlington fire claims 5 lives
ARLINGTON, IOWA—On Friday, Jan. 24, the Arlington Fire Department received a call at 3:35 a.m. of a house fire at 5094 F. Ave., approximately four miles southwest of Arlington, Iowa. When crews arrived on the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames, and it took crews at least two to three hours to realize the extent of the tragedy, that there were five people who perished in the fire.
Arlington Fire Chief Paul Seedorff said, “I just knew with the way the structure looked when we got here, there wasn’t going to be any way we’d be able to get inside and do anything about it.”
Brutal wind chills forced crews from Arlington, Stanley, and Aurora to fight the fire in shifts.
The address was recently listed in public records as the residence of James Dean McCain, 30.
Friends at the scene said a 4-year-old boy, a 1-year-old girl and their mother were among the victims. Ron Humphrey, of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, confirmed that the victims included two children and three adults. He also said that the house was owned by an elderly man who rented out parts of it.
The remains of the fire victims were sent to the state medical examiner’s office for positive identification. An official cause of death will not be available until autopsies are completed.
Humphrey said autopsies would determine whether foul play was involved. He also said the property was so badly damaged it would be difficult to collect enough evidence to pinpoint the cause of the blaze. Friends told reporters that space heaters were used to supplement heat in the house. Two charred heaters were found at the scene.