Public Safety

Mom, 2 children ID'd as victims in Muscatine house fire

Another person critical; no cause determined in blaze

The shows the home at 104 Clinton St. in Muscatine where three people died in a Monday evening fire. The victims were identified Friday as a woman and her two daughters, ages 6 and 17. Another person is in critical condition at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The cause of the fire is undetermined. (Andy Abeyta/Quad-City Times)
The shows the home at 104 Clinton St. in Muscatine where three people died in a Monday evening fire. The victims were identified Friday as a woman and her two daughters, ages 6 and 17. Another person is in critical condition at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The cause of the fire is undetermined. (Andy Abeyta/Quad-City Times)

MUSCATINE — A woman and her two children were identified Friday as those who died in a Muscatine house fire earlier this week.

Amy L. Wentz, 35, the home owner, and her daughters, Lily Wentz, 6, and Andreah Schroeder, 17, died in the fire that destroyed their home at 104 Clinton St., according to investigator Rich Hines and the Muscatine County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Hines said the state medical examiner conducted autopsies, but that reslts won’t be known for 12 to 15 weeks.

A fourth person who was critically injured was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and is reported to be in a coma.

The Muscatine Fire Department said the cause of the fire is “undetermined.”

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hartman said a fire cause is ruled undetermined, specifically in this case, when there are multiple sources of ignition.

“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 a catch-all term that may be frustrating to the public when one cause — such as a cigarette or a lighter — cannot be identified as the source. .

The Wentz home had many objects that could have led to the blaze.

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“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 working.

The fire was reported in a 911 call around 6:39 p.m. Monday in the 1800 block of Angle Street, though firefighters determined the fire was on Clinton Street, the Fire Department said in a news release.

Before crews arrived, they were notified of people possibly trapped inside the house. Fire was coming from windows and doors on the north and south sides of the building.

Paramedics found one person outside a window and took that person to a Muscatine hospital in critical condition.

Crews fought the fire in “extreme heat, smoke and flame conditions” and reported multiple rooms entirely engulfed, the news release stated.

Once firefighters entered the home, they found the three bodies.

The home’s loss was estimated at more than $80,000. The home was assessed at $57,000.

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