FOND DU LAC -- Officials on Tuesday, Sept. 24 identified the three people that died in a fire at a group home for people with disabilities in Fond du Lac. The fire started around 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19.
The victims were identified as 24-year-old Taylor Lavallee, 53-year-old Lisa Eastham, and 72-year-old Donna Frederick.
The preliminary findings of the joint investigation led investigators to believe the fire was accidental -- consistent with improperly discarded smoking materials. The home was turned over to the property owner and their insurance carrier.
Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O'Leary said it took several hours to find those victims because of the extreme flames. At least 50 firefighters battled the blaze that kept flaring up.
"When they would shut the hoses off, it would instantly flame right back up. So it was definitely a hot fire," said Nick Reifsnider, who works nearby.
Reifsnider called 911. He said he could feel the heat from several feet away -- and felt helpless he could not do more.
Two people did get out safely. Officials said they believe five people lived in the home. O'Leary said the three adults who died were found in their beds.