The Illinois fire marshal's office said Tuesday it has yet to determine the cause of the mobile home fire that killed five people south of Sherrard on March 27.
"We don't have anything new yet; the investigation is still open," said Milly Santiago, spokeswoman for the fire marshal's office in Springfield.
Ms. Santiago, who called the fire "a tragedy," said investigators from her officer are working with local officials to determine the exact nature of the blaze.
In the meantime, police have formally identified those who died in the fire and funeral arrangements are being made.
The Mercer County sheriff's office said Tuesday that DNA analysis by the Illinois State Police Crime Lab in Morton, confirmed the earlier identification of the the victims as Anna M. Viager, 38; her daughter, Breanna M. Viager, 8; Cassaundra 'Cassi' N. Turner, 15; Holli R. Harker, 13; and Jessica E. Harker, 11, all of rural Sherrard. The latter three were family friends on a sleepover.
The blaze started around 1 a.m. and tore through the 1,440-square-foot double-wide mobile home at 1385 300th St., leaving only metal and other bits of rubble at the scene. Anna's husband, Wayne Viager, and two sons, Dekotah and Allen, escaped. They received medical attention and are staying with relatives, sources say.
A visitation for the Harker sisters will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday, and the funeral service will be 10 a.m. Friday, both at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home,201 E. 4th Ave., Milan.
A visitation for Cassi Turner is scheduled 2-8 p.m. Monday atKirk, Huggins & Esterdahl Funeral Home, 1301 4th St., Orion. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. April 9 at Cable Community Church, 1498 303rd St.
A visitation for Anna and Breanna Viager is planned 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 11 at the Cable Community Church, with their funerals to follow at 2 p.m. Dennison Funeral Home in Viola is handling the arrangements.
Fundraisers for fire victims
A number of efforts to provide assistance to the families of the victims are under way.
-- Viager/Harker/Turner Funds: Donations at the 1st Community Bank, Sherrard
-- Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser for Harker Family: 4-8 p.m. Sunday Bethel Wesley United Church, 1201 13th St., Moline Hosted by Spellious Tae Kwon Do (Moline), of Chung Kim's Black Belt Academy (Bettendorf)
-- T-Shirt sales by Foxtail Vinyl Design & Screen Printing: $10, with proceeds going to victims' families Call 309-277-8444 or e-mail email@example.com
-- Trailblazer 4H Club Vendor Fair: 5:30-8 p.m. April 19 Preemption Methodist Church Hot dogs, tacos and drinks, silent auction and community bake sale with all proceeds going to families For questions or to donate conrtact Kathy Jahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 372-8226
-- Household/pet supplies donation drop-off: Yerkey Veterinary Service, 1802 17th Ave., Viola Donations may include dishes, towels, toiletries, non-perishable food items and dog and cat food/supplies
Today is Tuesday, Sept. 16, the 259th day of 2014. There are 106 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A fine lumber mill is on the course of erection at Andalusia. A flouring mill at that location is doing a fine business. 1889 — 125 years ago: J.B. Lidders, past captain of Beardsley Camp, Sons of Veterans, returned from Paterson, N.Y., where he attended the National Sons of Veterans encampments. 1914 — 100 years ago: President Wilson announced that he had received from the imperial chancellor of Germany a noncommittal reply to his inquiry into a report that the emperor was willing to discuss terms of peace. 1939 — 75 years ago: Delegates at the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church in Springfield voted to raise the minimum pay of ministers so that every pastor would get at least $1,000 annually. 1964 — 50 years ago: An audience of more than 2,600 persons jammed into the Davenport RKO Orpheum theater with a shoe horn feasted on a Miller-Diller evening that was a killer night. Phyllis Diller sent the audience with her offbeat humor. And send them she did! It was Miss Diller's third appearance in the Quad-Cities area. 1989 — 25 years ago: A few years ago, a vacant lot on 7th Avenue and 14th Street in Rock Island was a community nuisance. Weeds grew as high 18 inches. Today, the lot has a new face, thanks to Michael and Sheila Rind and other neighbors who helped them turn it into a park three weeks ago.