Teenagers Perish In Wabash House Fire

By Valerie Caviglia

Teenagers Perish In Wabash House Fire

July 25, 2010 Updated Jul 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM EDT

WABASH, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- In a devastating fire rescue attempt this morning, heavy flames, smoke and heat prevented fire fighters from reaching three teenagers in time to save their lives.

A report from the Wabash Police Department said officer Josh Prater spotted a fire at 88 North Wabash Street at approximately 3:47 a.m. today. Officer Prater radioed fire dispatch and immediately attempted to help residents inside.

Jared and Martha Johnson exited the home and informed officer Prater their three children were still upstairs. Officer Prater tried to gain entry to the home, but heavy smoke, flames and heat pushed him back from entry.

Fire units following first responders were also unable to access inside the home in order to retrieve the children, who perished in the smoke and flames.

The children were Caitlin D. Burke, 17, Jacob J. Johnson, 15, and Jared R. Johnson, 13.

Assisting on scene in addition to the Wabash Police and Fire Departments were personnel from Noble Township Fire Department, Wabash County Coroner's Office, Wabash County Emergency Management Agency, the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, Wabash Miami County Red Cross and the Wabash County Sheriff's Department.

The fire remains under investigation at this time. There is no word on the cause of the fire, but we will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they become available.

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