- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Foul play is not suspected in the Indianapolis house fire that killed a couple and four of their children over the weekend, but the investigation into a cause may be lengthy because there were no survivors to provide information, authorities said Monday.

Indianapolis Fire DepartmentCapt. Rita Reith said investigators must eliminate many possible causes before determining what started the fire that was reported shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday by drivers passing by on nearby Interstate 70.

Lionel “Leo” Guerra, 47, and his 33-year-old wife, Brandy Mae Guerra, died Saturday, as did their 11-year-old son, Esteban, and 8-year-old daughter, Blanquita. Fourteen-year-old Miranda and 6-year-old Fuentes died Sunday at Riley Hospital for Children.

Autopsies were being performed Monday on all six, but Reith said it will be several weeks before toxicology results are confirmed for exact causes of death. Firefighters found the six family members unconscious inside the small bungalow-style home.

Luis Guerra, son of Lionel Guerra, is devastated, said his cousin Carlos Hood, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday.

“It’s really tough on him, losing his father, all his siblings and his stepmom,” Hood said. “It’s hard to bury one person, let alone six of them.”

Hood said Lionel Guerra was influential in his life and to others in his extended family.

“He was like a father to me,” he said. “He was a family man. He gave it to you straight. He didn’t sugarcoat nothing. … He was just an all-around great guy.”

Hood said although Luis Guerra didn’t live in the house, he was close to his siblings.

“He was with them all the time,” he said.

The extended family is trying to raise money to pay for the funerals for the family, Hood said.

Reith said it is the largest single loss of life for a family because of a fire in the department’s history. She says a 29-year-old mother and her three young children died from injuries sustained in a house fire in May 2008, and four boys between the ages of 3 and 8 died in November 1996 when a fire roared through their duplex while their father was driving their mother to work.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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