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 firstname.lastname@example.org
-- 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 email@example.com 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, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2013. There are 21 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: We give "the government" the benefit of our circulation free of charge, for two advertisements for mules, horses and forage. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The official board of the First Methodist Church voted to build a new church. 1913 -- 100 years ago: W.A. Reid was elected commander of Siboney Bay Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Blanche S. Osborne, of Rock Island, is the only woman in the city who is a member of the American Legion. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Rocket Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Howard Mesecher, will present a concert of barbershop songs at the December meeting of the Woman's Club of Moline at 2 Saturday afternoon in Scottish Rite Cathedral. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Helen A. Stone, of Moline, traded her organ's bench for a seat in the pew when she retired as church organist of Union Congregational Church, Moline, recently. She's been playing either piano or organ for the church for 61 years.