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Fire victims identified

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

The Huntington County Coroner’s Office identified the mother and child who died in a house fire Sunday morning as 52-year-old De Ann Baker-Huss and 3-year-old Lumin Naomi Baker.

Huntington County Coroner Philip Zahm said both victims died of asphyxiation from smoke inhalation. Another unidentified woman and two children escaped through a second-story window before calling central dispatch around 4 a.m. on Nov. 25.

The woman suffered a fractured ankle from the fall and everybody suffered from smoke inhalation. The woman and two children were transported to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. 

Firefighters arrived on scene in less than three minutes after receiving the call to 333 Lee Street, but Huntington Fire Department Chief Tony Johnson said by the time firefighters arrived, the house was completely engulfed by flame. 

“Most of the windows had fire coming out of them,” Johnson said the day after the fire. “The fire had already penetrated through the roof.”

Police attempted to enter the home after arriving first but were unable to because of the intensity, and firefighters could not enter immediately because of the structural integrity of the building, according to the fire department reports. 

Investigators found Baker-Huss on the first floor and her granddaughter, Baker, on the second floor. Several pets were found as well.

It took more than an hour to control the flames. The Huntington Fire Department and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Total damage was nearly $75,000. No other structures were affected.