Portable space heater likely ignited fire where infant died

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WISH) — A Monday fire where an infant boy died was ruled accidental on Tuesday, Frankfort Fire Department investigators said.

Lead investigator Jeremy Ward said in a statement in a news release, “The fire originated in a first-floor bedroom and was likely caused by a portable space heater.”

Frankfort firefighters were called to the fire just after 10 a.m. Monday at a residence in the 1300 block of West Jefferson Street, Fire Chief John Kirby said.

The boy’s father and two of his siblings escaped the house, and firefighters were told that a child might still be inside. The boy did not escape the fire and perished, Kirby said.

In a Facebook post asking for help for the displaced Mills family, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office identified the boy as 7-month-old Deacon. The office later edited the post to remove the boy’s name and age.

The Frankfort Fire Department did not name the child and said he was 8 months old.

Tuesday’s news release said the Clinton County Coroner’s Office has not determined the infant’s cause of death.

One police officer at the fire was treated for smoke inhalation and minor facial burns, Kirby said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Loss of life in any situation is horrible, but when it’s a child, it is heartbreaking,” he said.

The sheriff’s office said the Mills family was in need of food and clothing. Anyone can drop off donations here:

  • Food and clothing:
    • Faith Family Church, 508 W. Green St., until 8 p.m. Monday.
    • Gem City Junction Coffee Shop, 63 E. Clinton St., 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Monetary donations:
    • Faith Family Church from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

The Mills family was working with Faith Family Church to find temporary housing. Anyone who would like to help with housing is encouraged to call 765-659-3011.