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Child Dead, 2 Adults Critical after Itasca Co. Fire

Updated: 03/03/2014 10:39 PM
Created: 03/03/2014 12:06 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

One child is dead and two adults are in critical condition after a house fire in Itasca County on Sunday evening.

The sheriff's office said a 911 caller reported the fire on Wendigo Road in Harris Township, southeast of Grand Rapids, at about 9:25 p.m.  Two fire departments, several ambulance services, and authorities from several departments responded to the scene.

"I instantly lost it thinking if everything that happened last night and just devastation, just completely devastated," said Sharla Hurlbut, whose 24-year-old neice Nichole Juilen lived at the home with her two children and their father, 38-year-old Glen Campbell.

Hurlbut said a 3-year-old boy died in the fire and a 2-year-old girl was treated at a hospital and released.  She said Juilen and Campbell are in critical but stable condition at Grand Itasca Medical Center.

"They lost everything they had, everything," Hurlbut said.  "They left with nothing, they have nothing.  They left with the clothes on their backs.  That's all they have left."

Only rubble remains at the fire scene. As the news spread Monday, it took a toll on the small community.  "It's always tragic in a community, it tears at the heart of a community when a small child dies," said Sheriff Victor Williams.

Williams said unknowns make it harder to bear, but the state Fire Marshal's office is still investigating the cause of the fire.

"We do know that often times in mobile homes they do develop quickly and the fire can rage quite out of control fast," Williams said.

Until details of the fire's cause are released, Hurlbut will keep her thoughts with the victims.

"They were very, very loving parents. Very, very good with their kids, enjoyed being with their family.  Very, very happy people," she said.  "It doesn't feel real yet.  It still doesn't feel like this really happened."

A fund for the victims has been set up at First National Bank of Coleraine.

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