A house fire in Pana resulted in the deaths of two children Sunday morning. In a press release, Pana Police Chief Daniel Bland informed Regional Radio News that Christian County 911 received a call of a structure fire in the 800 block of East Second Street in Pana. A Pana Police Officer first arrived on scene and observed heavy smoke coming from the residence. The officer was informed by family members outside the residence of two small children still inside, and attempted to gain entry inside but was denied due to the intense heat and smoke.
The Pana Fire Department arrived on scene shortly after, and attempted to gain entry into the front of the residence but was also denied due to the extreme heat and smoke coming from inside. Upon arrival by additional Pana Fire personnel, crews made entry into the home to search the residence where the children were reported to be located. During the search, heavy fire vented throughout the upper-level area of the structure forcing fire personnel to work to bring the fire under control before continuing the search. During the search, the two children were located deceased on the second level of the residence.
Christian County Coroner Amy Calvert Winans has since released the names of the victims. Two year old Ellaina Graves Emerson was found in her bed in an upstairs bedroom, while 3 month old Keith Emerson was found in his crib in another upstairs bedroom. Preliminary autopsy results show that both died from carbon monoxide intoxication due to inhalation of smoke and soot due to the fire.
It is currently unknown if the fire was in connection to a series of arson attacks throughout the city. Pana Fire Chief Rod Bland has stated the cause of the fire is undetermined, but may have been electrical in nature. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.