LAKE CITY - Four people died in a house fire in Lake City early Tuesday morning.
Names of the victims were not released pending positive identification, but a Facebook page listed them as 22-year-old Tyra Pierson, 8-year-old Madison Pierson, 3-year-old Wyatt Pierson and Tyra Pierson's 10-month old son, Xavier Pierson.
"I believe it would be safe to say the names on Facebook are correct," Lake City Fire Chief Mel Alcox said Tuesday evening.
A pile of debris sits on the lawn at 703 S. Illinois St. in Lake City Wednesday afternoon after a fire destroyed the home and killed four people. Lake City Fire Chief Mel Alcox said the fire claimed the lives of three children, an 8-year-old, a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old baby and a 22-year-old woman.
Alcox said the fire at 703 S. Illinois St. was reported by Lake City Police Officer Dana Cook, who discovered smoke coming from the south side of the Calhoun County town.
Alcox said when firefighters arrived on the scene around 1:45 a.m., the flames and smoke were too intense and the home was unsafe to enter.
"We knew it wasn't good," he said. "They told us there could have been as many as four people in the house."
Firefighters battled the flames for several hours and had to sift through debris to reach the victims, who Alcox said were believed to be three children and a woman in her early 20s.
The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the blaze, and said foul play is not suspected.
Alcox said the fire appears to have been started by a faulty cord on an overhead lamp in the home's living room.
"The fire marshal has discussed many possibilities," said Alcox. "But they believe it could be a shorted-out light."
Lake City Police Chief Bobby Rist said the fire is a "horrific tragedy for a small town."
"Everybody knows everybody, we're a community of 1,600." said Rist. "So in a town this size you probably know one or all of the victims or their surviving family members. It's especially difficult when children are involved. As a police department, we work with children all of the time, but very little does it involve their death. It hits home, many of our officers and firefighters have young kids of their own so this has to be very difficult for them. They are to be commended, they deserve a lot of credit for the job they do."
Alcox said the deadly fire was one of the worst the all-volunteer fire department had seen.
"We've never had anything with this many victims," he said. "It's a sad sight, a bad deal. I feel bad for the family."
The community of Lake City has come together to assist the family.
An account for monetary donations has been set up and donations can be made at any United Bank of Iowa location to the Pierson-Kraft fund.
Lake City businessman Gus Macke has an apartment available for the family, and Macke Motors has started a household goods drive to assist them with furnishing the apartment. They are in need of bedding, tables and chairs, a sofa, towels and toiletries, pillows and kitchen items.
To make a donation, contact Krissi Macke at Macke Motors at (712) 464-3185.