MUSCATINE — The three people who died in Monday night's house fire have been identified.
Homeowner Amy L. Wentz, 35, and her daughters, Andreah Schroeder, 17, and Lily Wentz, 6, were killed in the fire that destroyed the home at 104 Clinton St., Muscatine, according to a news release Friday from investigator Rich Hines with the Muscatine County Medical Examiner's Office.
Autopsies were performed by state pathologists. The results won’t be released for another 12-15 weeks, Hines said.
A fourth person who was critically injured was taken to University Hospitals in Iowa City and is reported to be in a coma.
The cause of the fire was classified as "undetermined" by the Muscatine Fire Department. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman said a cause is ruled undetermined, specifically in this case, when there are multiple sources of ignition where the fire originated.
"If we get to the point where we can't determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, what the cause is, then by professional standards, we have to classify it as undetermined," Hartman said.
He said "undetermined" is kind of a catch-all term that may be frustrating for the public to learn because one object such as a cigarette or a lighter is not identified as the cause of the fire. The location in the Clinton Street home where the fire is believed to have started had many objects that could have led to the blaze.
"In the area of origin," he said, "we have a lot of potentials, and I can't discard everything and get down to one."
The home had smoke alarms, but it is unknown whether they were functional.
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According to the news release from the Muscatine Fire Department, Muscatine Joint Communications Center received a 911 call around 6:39 p.m. Monday of a house fire initially in the 1800 block of Angle Street, Muscatine. The actual location was soon determined to be 104 Clinton St.
Before crews arrived, they were notified of people possibly trapped in the home, which was confirmed on arrival. Fire was coming from windows and doors on the north and south sides of the building. Paramedics recovered one person outside a window and transported the victim to Trinity Muscatine in critical condition.
Crews fought the fire in "extreme heat, smoke and flame conditions" and multiple rooms were entirely engulfed in fire. Once firefighters entered the rooms, they found the three bodies.
The total material loss is estimated at more than $80,000 from heavy fire damage on the first and second floors, with smoke and water damage in the basement, the news release read. The home was assessed at $57,000.
American Red Cross were called to the scene and will assist as it can. A pet cat was rescued and received care from a local veterinarian's office.
Approximately 30 firefighters from Muscatine Fire, and the Fruitland and Wilton volunteer fire departments responded, including off-duty personnel. One firefighter received a minor injury, but did not require medical treatment.
The Muscatine Police Department also assisted during the incident and are assisting in the investigation along with the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office.