Mobile home fire inquiry continues, but oxygen machine didn’t apparently factor

There's been a lot of speculation about Monday's deadly mobile home fire, but one of the victim's oxygen machines apparently didn't factor in the blaze.
Posted on Dec. 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Questions swirl around the cause of the deadly fire Monday at a mobile home near Bristol.

Some family members and other media have alluded to the possibility that an oxygen machine used by Cindy Kabay, who died leading up to the fire, factored in the incident.

Elkhart County Coroner John White, though, said Wednesday, Dec. 18, that while Kabay, indeed, used an oxygen machine, the device wasn’t in use at the time of the blaze. “It was definitely found in the off position,” he said.

Still, it’s not clear what exactly sparked the blaze or the chain of events that resulted in the deaths of Kabay, 67, and her son, 42-year-old Chad Russell, killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Assistant Bristol Fire Department Chief Fred Genslinger said Tuesday that the fire was unintentional, but offered no additional info pending completion of the investigation.

A rep in the Bristol Fire Department said Wednesday that the Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the investigation and, with Chief Fay Kemp out until Thursday, offered no update on the inquiry, which ought to be done next week. Fire marshal’s officials have identified the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department as the liaison for press inquiries, but a rep from the department didn’t immediately have any new information.

The fire at the mobile home was called in around 7 a.m. Monday morning and officials later reported that Kabay and Russell were subsequently found dead inside the dwelling. Judging by the lack of carbon monoxide in her system, Kabay actually died before the fire of natural causes stemming from underlying heart disease, White said. Russell was apparently overcome by smoke after the fire started and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The bodies of Kabay and Russell were found near the entrance to the mobile home, at Timberbrook Mobile Home Park west of Bristol. Kabay’s husband was living in a rehabilitation center at the time and Russell had moved in to help care for his mother, according to family.

Neither was working at the time, according to family, though Russell’s obituary said he had worked in the recreational vehicle industry.


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