11-year-old girl hospitalized after South Bend house fire dies, bringing death toll to 6 young siblings

Six markers are placed in front of a burned out home in South Bend, Ind., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. An 11-year-old girl who was hospitalized for burns following a northern Indiana house fire has died, bringing the fire’s death toll to six children, all of them siblings, authorities said Monday. (Camille Sarabia/South Bend Tribune via AP)

An 11-year-old girl who was hospitalized for burns following a northern Indiana house fire has died, bringing the fire’s death toll to six children, all of them siblings, authorities said Monday.

Angel Smith died Friday at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, the Marion County Coroner’s Office said in a Monday update. Her death was confirmed one day after a vigil was held in South Bend for the six victims of the Jan. 21 fire.

Fire officials said the siblings were trapped by flames on the home’s second floor in South Bend. Their father survived the blaze and is recovering from his injuries, said Suzie Krill, a spokesperson for the South Bend Fire Department.

He had told firefighters that he tried to rescue the children but was forced back by heavy smoke and wind-driven flames, South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon said last week.

The five other children killed in the fire were previously identified as three boys — Demetris Smith, 10; Deontay Smith, 5; and D’Angelo Smith, 4; and two girls, Davida Smith, 9; and Faith Smith, 17 months.

Krill said Monday that the cause of the deadly fire remains under investigation by South Bend fire investigators and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

During a vigil held Sunday outside the burned home for the six children, white, pink and blue balloons were released for the siblings, their names were recited and prayers were offered.

Lynn Coleman, a South Bend community leader, said the deadly fire was difficult to comprehend.

“You know, people say, ‘What happened?’ It doesn’t matter. It won’t bring those six babies back,” Coleman told WNDU-TV.  (AP)

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