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 Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.