UPDATE: Deadly Elkhart Co. house fire ruled accidental


Last week WSBT told you officials thought improperly disposed smoking materials werethe cause of a deadly house fire in Elkhart County. Now that has been ruled the official cause as the investigation wraps up.

Sixty-seven-year-old Cindy Kabay, her 42-year-old son Chad Russell, and the family dog were found dead near the front door of their home in the Timberbrook mobile home park just off County Road 120.

Soon after the fire we spoke with Asst. Chief Fred Genslinger with the Bristol Fire Department who told us the fire was an accident caused by careless smoking.

He said there was an oxygen tank in the house and Kabay was a smoker.

On Friday, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department issued the following release:

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office continues the investigation into the deaths of Crissinda Kabay, 66 and Chad Russell, 42 both of Bristol, IN. On 12-16-2013, at or about 7:02 AM, a fire was reported at the residence located at 526 N Arbutus, Bristol, IN. The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office responded after fire units found Crissinda Kabay and Chad Russell deceased in the living area of the home. Our investigation, which includes the Fire Marshal's report, has shown that the origin of the fire was located on the Southeast corner of the living room, and may have been caused by improperly discarded smoking material. Medical Oxygen tanks were located in the home, however, it is unknown if they contributed to the fire.

Based on the information provided to date, the deaths and fire are considered accidental. Investigators are finalizing the investigation at this time.

At least one neighbor heard several explosions at around 7 on the morning of December 16.

Family members tell us Kabay needed the oxygen tank to help her breathe.

Bristol's Assistant Fire Chief says his department had been to this home a year ago--for a fire caused by careless smoking.