UPDATE: MSP release names of people killed in Three Oaks fire


Updated (2-7-14): On Friday afternoon, Michigan State Police releasedthe names of four people killed in a Thursday morning fire at a Three Oaks home.

MSP identified the victims as;

Home owners and residents: Mr. Orville D. Kiernan, 77 years of age from Three Oaks Mrs. Leota G. Kiernan, 76 years of age from Three Oaks

Grand-daughter and resident: Anna M. Peek, 20 years of age from Three Oaks

Friend and occupant: Kyle R. Tyler, 19 years of age from New Troy

The Berrien County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and reported that all four died of smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities believe foul play is not a cause and investigators say police had "no indication of accelerants at the residence."

WSBT's Annie Chang spoke with a childhood friend of one of the victims. She'll have that for you tonight at 5 and 6 on WSBT News.

Original (2-6-14): Michigan State Police have taken over the investigation into a horrific house fire in the Berrien County village of Three Oaks that killed 4 people early Thursday.

They say an elderly couple, their granddaughter and her boyfriend were living in the home.

The blaze broke out around 5:30 a.m. in the 200 block of North Elm Street, which is across the street and just up the block from the Three Oaks post office.


Firefighters say they got the call from someone who was just driving by and happened to see the flames. That person stopped, called 911, and honked the horn, trying to wake up the people inside. He even tried go inside the house and save them, but it was too hot.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived on the scene.

Michigan State Police say two of the victims were found in the living room area and the other in a northwest bedroom.

It took firefighters from four departments three hours to put out the blaze.

"We had some difficulties with ice, freezing of lines, fire hydrants were frozen," said Three Oaks Assistant Fire Chief Mike Young.

The house was a total loss.

Firefighters found the four bodies inside, and many of them knew the victims personally.

"At this point, we just take it one hour at a time," Young added. "Eventually, it will affect us all. It's a small-knit community. We're all neighbors. We all care about one another. As it hits and becomes reality, I'm sure it will become an issue."

Michigan State Police don't know where or how the fire started.

They did not find anything suspicious at the scene, but they do know the elderly man who lived there was a heavy smoker.

MSP says there were NO working smoke detectors inside the home.

The flames had already caused severe damage to the home by the time firefighters arrived.

"For my career, it's an extreme fire," said MSP Lt. Mindy Logan.

Logan said this is the first fatal fire in the area this year.

For the people of Three Oaks, it's the loss of four of their own.

Police say they were planning to bring in a K-9 unit Thursday evening to look for any dangerous chemicals inside the house. That is standard procedure for any deadly fire.

Police also tell us autopsies for the four victims is scheduled for Friday morning.

A dog and three cats also died in the fire.