MCFD reveals cause of fire; Mason City School District offers support to students following fatal fire

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UPDATE: 11/17 – The Mason City Fire Department said the cause of the fire that claimed the lives of 4 children and injured 2 others on Wednesday morning has been ruled as accidental.

MCFD said the fire was caused by an electrical power strip located on the main floor.

“From what we’ve determined so far, it appears that it stemmed from the origins of an electrical outlet, a power strip. The exact cause of what happened there, if it was overloaded there or malfunctioned, we’re not quite sure of yet,” said Chief Erik Bullinger with MCFD.

MCFD said the investigation has been completed with assistance from the Mason City Police Department and the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office.

The victims were all boys under the age of 13 years old: 3-year-old Phenix Mcluer, 6-year-old Drako Mcluer, 10-year-old Odin Thor Mcluer, and 12-year-old John Michael Mcluer.

Credit: Our precious McCluer Boys GoFundMe

The victims attended five different elementary and middle schools in the Mason City School District.

“These children leave behind teachers, friends, and others here at school who will miss them deeply,” said Mason City School District Superintendent Pat Hamilton in a press conference. “Our hearts go out to the family and others in the community who are also suffering.”

To help students deal with shock and loss, the school district has called in a crisis response team to provide support and counseling to students and the school community.

These crisis social workers say that it is crucial parents are listening to their children at this time. Parents should observe their children’s behavior carefully and recognize if they are displaying any changes in behavior. Behaviors like developing nightmares, becoming withdrawn or displaying extreme emotions.

Kamie Roberts, a school psychologist with Central Rivers AEA says keeping kids on their normal routines can help them feel at ease. Roberts also says it is important to be direct with children, as uncomfortable as it may be for parents. Saying things like, “they have died” versus “they have passed away or are sleeping,” can be confusing for young children to process.

The most important thing, however, is to contact your school counselors if children are displaying concerning behaviors, or with any questions you may have in traumatic situations like this one.

“As parents, guardians, caretakers always being able and feeling good about reaching out to the school and asking to speak with school counselors, school social workers, other mental health professionals, other support professionals,” explained Kandice Bienfang-Lee, a school social worker with Central Rivers AEA.

Listed below are multiple crisis hotlines that can be called with any questions:

  • SAMHSA National HelpLine 800-662-HELP (4357)
  • YourLife Iowa – 855-581-8111
  • Iowa Crisis Chat – 855-325-4296
  • 988 Crisis Lifeline

For more information on the Central Rivers Area Education Agency crisis team, click here.

There is a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for expenses. If you are interested in donating, click here.

(ABC 6 News) – The Mason City Community School District released a statement via their social media pages on Thursday morning in response to the 4 children who were killed and 2 others injured in a Wednesday morning house fire.

The statement is below:

All of us at Mason City Community Schools are shaken by the loss of our students and extend our deepest sympathies to the family and those closest to them. The district counseling staff, Central Rivers AEA crisis team members, and other local agencies will be on hand today and will be embedded within each district building impacted by this tragedy for those who may need additional support. In addition, students will be encouraged to utilize crisis team member support as needed.

Mason City Community School District

Pat Hamilton, Superintendent for Mason City Community Schools, held a press briefing on Thursday about what the school district is doing to offer support to students following the fatal fire. Watch the full press briefing below.

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help the family. To view the page, CLICK HERE.

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(ABC 6 News) – Four children have died in a house fire in Mason City early Wednesday morning.

According to the Mason City Fire Department (MCFD), at approximately 5:05 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a home fully engulfed in fire at 509 N. Washington Ave.

MCFD chief Eric Bullinger said the building was a single-family home, and two residents, 55 year-old John Mcluer and an 11 year-old Ravan-Dawn McLuer were found outside the home after removing themselves from the fire.

Both were treated for burn related injuries. Their conditions are unknown at this time.

Fire crews arrived with fire visible from the first and second floor of the home. Rescue operations by fire fighters resulted in four more victims being removed from the house.

John-Mikal McLuer, 12, Odin-Thor McLuer, 10, Drako McLuer, 6, Phenix McLuer, 3, were all transported to the hospital where they were later died.

The cause of death is under investigation by the medical examiner’s office.

Bullinger said MCFD had the fire “under control” by about 5:25 a.m., and it was fully extinguished about 90 minutes after firefighters arrived.

The Salvation Army provided assistance to all crews on the fire scene while personnel worked in cold weather conditions.

Mason City Police Department, Alliant Energy, and Mason City Operations & Maintenance personnel also assisted at the scene. Two minor injuries to fire department personnel were also reported.

The fire is currently under investigation by MCFD and MCPD personnel and the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s office.

Courtesy: Gary Szymeczek