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No updates in deaths of man, children

No updates in deaths of man, children

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BLOOMINGTON — Police are staying mum Wednesday, almost a full day since a news conference announcing the deaths of three people at a northeast house.

Crime scene investigators remain at 14 Brittany Court, where authorities earlier said an adult male and two children were dead, and a woman injured, after a suspicious fire.

Names have not yet been released and few official details are available as the investigation goes into its second day. The department's spokesman is out of the office and no new information would be released, The Pantagraph was told. According to the department's Facebook page, several officers are at a recruiting event at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

On Tuesday, Chief Brendan Heffner said authorities believe the incident was isolated and posed no threat to public safety.

On Brittany Court on Wednesday, a majority of the house's front windows were open and a generator appeared to be providing power to the house. Investigators were going in and out of the house, including one with a clipboard and another with an evidence collection bag.

Bloomington police and firefighters were called at 2:59 a.m. Tuesday to the Eagle Crest subdivision on Bloomington’s far northeast side.

Heffner released few details during a three-minute news briefing at City Hall on Tuesday.

“We feel the fire was intentionally set, but isolated, and there is no reason at this time to believe there are any threats to public safety,” he said. “There have been no arrests and the circumstances surrounding this incident are still under investigation.”

After the news conference, Fire Chief Brian Mohr said one woman was transported to a hospital, but he declined to release further details.

Heffner did not mention the survivor during the briefing and declined to answer any questions or provide any other information.

“Were not going to answer any questions at this time because we don’t want to compromise the investigation,” he said.

McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said his office has been contacted and is helping with the investigation.

“At this point, we are assisting police, including with things like requests for search warrants and if the investigation goes further to point to a prosecutionable suspect, our role will change,” he said.

Neighbors strolled by and looked at the house street Tuesday afternoon after the story broke.

"I didn't know anything about it until a friend sent me a message at about 10:30 (a.m.)," said Charlotte Burris, who lives about three blocks away. "We didn't hear anything in the middle of the night, but it's really sad. This is a good, quiet neighborhood. Nothing like this happens around here."

Another neighbor, Tracy McWilliams, was walking with her dog early Tuesday afternoon.

"I went for a walk this morning and saw some fire trucks and a lot of police cars and I assumed there was a fire," she said. "When I heard that three people died, I was shocked. It's an even bigger shock now that I hear it was set intentionally."

There doesn't appear to be much fire damage to the two-story home. The door to the double garage was open with two vehicles inside. Neither appeared damaged.

There appeared to be no damage to neighbors' homes, but fire department officials have not yet released information such as possible cause, damage estimate or what departments were called to the scene.

The most recent Twin City fatal fire was Aug. 6 when Diana McLaren-Osburne, 68, died of smoke inhalation in her Normal condominium at 1538 Hunt Drive.

According to a search of Pantagraph records, the last time there were multiple fatalities in a Twin City fire was June 11, 1991, when two children were killed following an explosion at a home on Hollycrest Drive.

The Bloomington Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division is conducting the current investigation along with BFD and the coroner's office.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bloomington Police Detective John Heinlen at 309-434-2672 or jheinlen@cityblm.org.

 

Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow

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