The Goodfield fire that claimed the lives of three young children and two adults was intentionally set, and a juvenile suspect is being questioned, according to an April 18 press release from Woodford County Coroner Tim Ruestman.
“After an investigation by the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office, Woodford County Coroner, Eureka Goodfield Fire Department, Illinois State Police and The Office of the Fire Marshall and Woodford County States Attorney it is believed that the fire was intentionally started,” Ruestman said. “The manner of the five deaths will be ruled as homicide.”
At 11:19 p.m. on April 6, Eureka-Goodfield Fire District responders were summoned to a raging mobile home fire at 14 Cypress Court in Goodfield. Neighbors later described the blaze as “explosive” and a photo taken moments after fire broke out show the mobile home’s midsection consumed by fire.
Katrina Alwood, 27, escaped the fire. Her grandmother, Kathryn Murray, 69, fiancée, Jason Wall, 34, son, Daemeon Wall, 2, daughter, Ariel Wall 1, and niece, Rose Alwood, 2, died. Ruestman ruled the cause of their deaths was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Alwood was transported with her son, Kyle, 9, to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where they were treated and released.
Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger is assembling forensic evidence that he said will likely lead to charges against the juvenile in about two weeks. That evidence includes the manner in which the fire was ignited; whether by use of propellants or other means.
“We’re making a charging decision. There is only one suspect,” Minger said. “As long as forensics back up what we believe, there will be a charge.”
The age and gender of the suspect will be released when charges are filed. The juvenile currently is not in police custody.
According to the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department, the county’s juvenile detainees are typically held at the McLean County Juvenile Detention Center in Normal.
Services for the victims were held April 17 at the Goodfield Apostolic Christian Church Fellowship Hall, where clergy and relatives spoke before a table lined with photos of the victims. Beside it hung the U.S. Army class A uniform jacket of Jason Wall, who served in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.