Candle believed to have caused fire that killed two

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska State Fire Marshal investigators have determined that the Dec. 28 house fire that killed an Indianola couple was accidental in nature and is believed to have originated with an unattended candle.

The fire claimed the lives of Douglas and Debra Swanson, each 61 years of age. Their bodies were identified during an autopsy in Omaha, and a release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office this morning states that preliminary autopsy results indicate the cause of death was related to the fire.

The Swansons’ daughter, Laura Swanson, 34, of Denver, escaped from the home unharmed and placed the 911 call just past midnight Thursday morning. At the time she called 911 and as law enforcement officers and firefighters started arriving on the scene, she believed her parents and younger sister, Faith Swanson, 24, were still inside the house. During the course of the investigation, Faith was found alive in Arapahoe in Furnas County and reunited with her sister at the Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office in McCook late Thursday afternoon.

Responding agencies were Indianola Volunteer Fire and Rescue, City of McCook Fire and Rescue, Red Willow Western Rural Fire Department, Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office, Red Willow County Attorney, Nebraska State Fire Marshal and Nebraska State Patrol.

The Fire Marshal’s office has concluded its investigation. The house was deemed a total loss.

Funeral services for Douglas and Debra Swanson will be Friday, at 2 p.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Culbertson. Herrmann Jones Funeral Home of McCook is in charge of arrangements.

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