National News

Mother and 5 of Her Children Die in Motel Fire in Michigan

Posted July 28, 2018 6:57 p.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2018 7:00 p.m. EDT

A 26-year-old woman and five of her children were killed in a fire early Saturday at a motel in Michigan, authorities said.

The fire swept through the Cosmo Extended Stay Motel in Sodus, Michigan, at about 1:45 a.m., killing the mother and her children, ages 2 through 10, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Police identified the woman as Kiarre Curtis; police earlier Saturday identified her as Kiarre Samuel.

Her husband, Samuel Curtis, 36, and her 1-year-old daughter were staying in the same room but survived the fire, said Chief Deputy Robert Boyce, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The family was from the Benton Harbor, Michigan, area, he said.

Investigators believe the cause of the fire was accidental, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Saturday evening. They found no accelerants or illegal narcotic manufacturing at the scene.

The fire originated in a first-floor room of the motel, where investigators plan to do further forensic testing, according to the news release. The victims were staying in a room on the second floor, and authorities believe they died from smoke inhalation.

The Sheriff’s Office contracted a private security company to test the motel’s fire alarm and smoke detector.

The motel is near a highway in Sodus, about 200 miles west of Detroit. Twenty-seven of the motel’s 60 rooms were occupied at the time of the fire.

About 90 percent of the motel was damaged by smoke, fire or water, authorities said.