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Faulty light fixture sparked Weippe fire that killed 3-year-old twin boys

Investigators learned the two 3-year-old boys, John and Shawn, were last seen sleeping in the living room.

WEIPPE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Insurance ruled on the cause of a fire that killed twin boys in Weippe, Idaho Friday morning.

According to a press release from Jennifer McClelland with the Idaho Department of Insurance, the fire was caused by an electrical fault in a light fixture.

According to Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz, the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office responded to a fully engulfed structure fire on West 8th Avenue in Weippe shortly after 2 a.m.

McClelland said investigators learned the two 3-year-old boys, John and Shawn, were last seen sleeping in the living room. The search was hindered by the collapsed roof and weakened floors due to the fire damage, according to the release.

“This was one of the most difficult cases I’ve dealt with in my 35-year career,” said Idaho State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl wrote in the release. “After about 5 hours of searching the twins were found in the kitchen area. The tragic loss of these two boys impacted every State Fire Marshal investigator and first responder there and no doubt the entire community of Weippe. Our hearts goes out to the family of John and Shawn.”

According to investigators, the boys’ mother, Hannah Hueth, woke up to smoke and alerted their father, Chance Carr, who immediately tried to rescue the boys but was driven back by heavy smoke and heat. Chance helped Hannah out of the window and tried to get into the living again unsuccessfully, according to the release.

The release said Hannah ran around to the front of the house to try to get into the house but couldn’t due to the flames and smoke. She also stopped a passing motorist to call 911.

Firefighters arrived a short time later. According to the release, smoke alarms were said to have been inside the home, but no alarms were reported to have been heard or located during the investigation.

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