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New Whiteland officials declare fire that killed toddler as undetermined

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – The New Whiteland Fire Department has officially declared a fatal fire that happened two months ago is undetermined.

At least four other fire departments helped the New Whiteland Fire Department during the investigation, but the cause of the fire was never found.

“We brought in pretty much every fire investigator around,” Fire Chief Derek Wilson said. “We probably had more than 100 years of experience investigating this fire. Plenty of fires have causes undetermined, but this one hit home.”

2-year-old Manserat Kaur died during the fire, despite firefighters’ trying to rescue and pull her from a second-floor window.

The Marion County Coroner’s office said Kaur died from carbon monoxide poisoning and severe burns.

Since Feb. 23, multiple fire departments, police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the fire in the 700 block of Hickory Pine Drive in the Country Gate subdivision.

According to Wilson, they covered every area in the home to try and figure out the cause. They sent electrical outlets away for testing but the results showed the cause was not an electrical malfunction. They interviewed witnesses and brought in a translator to speak with the family, who spoke little to no English, to gather information about what happened. He said by the time they had a translator, the family could no longer remember all of the details of the day and were traumatized by the loss of their daughter. Wilson said they weren’t able to gather much information.

“Whenever someone dies in a fire, there’s always an added motivation to determine the cause of the blaze,” Wilson said.

The fire was the New Whiteland’s first fatal fire in 63 years.

“You try to do your job and determine the cause. With a child fatality, this took a toll on everyone involved,” Wilson said. “We did everything in our power, but it ended up undetermined.”