February 13, 2013An early Thursday morning mobile home fire south of English claimed the lives of five people, including two young children.
John (Jay) Denton, 32; his daughter, Kara, 8; his girlfriend, Dee Ann (Dee Dee) Rogier, 34; her son, Curtis Rogier, 3; and Denton's half-brother, Billy Joe Turben, 35, perished from smoke inhalation, said Crawford County Coroner Wayne Bullington.
The Indiana Fire Marshal's Office ruled the fire, which started after midnight, was the result of an issue with a wood stove inside the mobile home, located in the 1300 block of E. Denton Road.
Denton's father, John, who lives with his wife and the younger Denton's and Turben's mother, Shirley, in front of his son's mobile home, attempted to get inside the home, but was unsuccessful, suffering a large laceration on his hand in the process.
Firefighters go through the mobile home. Photo Courtesy of Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Allen
Volunteer firefighters from Leavenworth, English and Marengo, along with Crawford County Emergency Medical Services, were dispatched around 12:30 a.m.
Unable to locate anyone at first, emergency personnel and family members hoped that the five had been able to escape and were in the nearby woods. However, a body was soon found and the coroner was called around 1:30.
Denton and Turben's older brother, Ben Turben, of Valeene, said he didn't know the exact age of the mobile home, but said it wasn't that old. He added that the wood stove wasn't original to the home, but it had metal behind and under it. The home had a furnace, but Denton burned wood to save money, he said.
"They didn't use it all the time to try to keep the bills down," Turben said.
Rose Turben, of Marengo, one of three sisters, said her niece, a student at Marengo Elementary School, had fun playing.
"Kara liked to draw and color. She never got tired of it," she said.
Turben said her mother and Kara's grandmother, Shirley Denton, has always had a fear of dying in a fire. She recalled that Kara had a dream some time ago that her grandmother was in a fire and couldn't get out.
"Now, that's the baby that's laid back there dead," she said while looking back at the remains of the mobile home as tears fell down her face.
Ben Turben said he learned about the fire by watching the local morning television news.
"As soon as they said trailer fire and five people dead, I said, 'I know it.' Then, when they said the address, I said, 'I even know it more,' " he said.
Also responding were Sheriff Tim Wilkerson, Lt. Debra Young, Deputy Glen Crawford and Reserve Officer James Uland of the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Allen, American Red Cross, Crawford County Chief Deputy Coroner Chris Brown and the Indiana Fire Marshal's Office.
Memorial fund established
Persons wanting to help the families of the victims may do so by making a donation to a fund set up at First Savings Bank.
Donations may be made to any of FSB's 14 Southern Indiana locations, including at English, Leavenworth and Marengo.Checks should be made payable to the Denton Memorial Fund.
Money donated to the fund will help with funeral expenses.
In addition, American Legion Post 84 at Marengo will host a benefit Saturday.
There will be a fish fry from noon to closing, silent auction from noon to 6 p.m., turkey shoot (all cash rounds) at 1 p.m. and Karaoke by Fred from 8 p.m. to closing.
Plus, the JayC Store at English donated food to the families.