Sixth child from South Bend dies from injuries suffered in LaPorte Avenue house fire

Mark Osborne kneels and prays outside the house at 222 N. LaPorte Ave. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, after Sunday’s fire where five children died inside the home. A sixth child, Angel Smith, 11, died from her injuries Friday, Jan. 26 at Riley Children's Health in Indianapolis. Osborne, who said he lives nearby, said this was his second time he stopped by to say a prayer for the victims.

SOUTH BEND — Angel Smith was pronounced dead at 9:46 a.m. Friday at Riley Children's Health in Indianapolis, a family friend confirmed to The Tribune.

Angel, 11, had been one of two survivors, along with her father, David Smith, of a residential fire on Jan. 21 that claimed the lives of five of her siblings.

The other Smith children killed in the fire are 10-year-old Demetis, 9-year-old Davida, 5-year-old Deontay, 4-year-old D’Angelo and 17-month-old Faith.

After being rescued from the second floor of the house at 222 N. LaPorte Ave. on Sunday evening, Angel had been treated at Memorial Hospital before she was airlifted to Riley Children's Health for treatment.

What we know: Catch up with all The Tribune's coverage of the LaPorte Avenue house fire that killed six

The Tribune reported Friday that the house had failed a federally mandated safety inspection in July after an inspector found a list of 10 violations, including an "electrical problem throughout the entire home," according to a document The Tribune obtained through a public records request.

At the time, a different family lived in the house as clients of the Housing Authority of South Bend's Housing Choice Voucher program, which paid the majority of their rent.

HASB Director Marsha Parham-Green said that when the property manager, South Bend-based WJM Property Management, failed to remediate the safety issues within 30 days of the July 19 inspection report, the housing authority relocated the family.

South Bend city officials stress that it's still not clear how or where the house fire began. South Bend Fire Department investigators are working alongside investigators from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to determine a room of origin and a cause. South Bend police are involved to rule out foul play.

The items left by community members continues to grow Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at 222 N. LaPorte Ave. where six children died after a house fire on Sunday.
The items left by community members continues to grow Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at 222 N. LaPorte Ave. where six children died after a house fire on Sunday.

The South Bend community reacted quickly to the tragedy, with the establishment of a GoFundMe campaign administered by a family friend, the “Smith Family Memorial Fund” through 1st Source Bank and a fundraiser by B100 radio scheduled for Jan. 27 to raise money for David Smith.

The Rev. Dennis Givens of New Horizons Outreach Ministry in South Bend said at the Wednesday press conference to announce the "Smith Family Memorial Fund," “We pray for every child. … Our whole community feels this pain. … Help us to learn from this situation.”

Pastor Erskine Jones, whose Sweet Home Ministries in South Bend is handling the funeral arrangements, said at the press conference, “Give him (father David Smith) strength that he can make it through these next few days, few weeks, few years.”

With Angel's death, the Jan. 21 fire becomes what is believed to be tied for the deadliest residential fire in South Bend's history, alongside an April 18, 1929, fire that also killed six people.

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Sixth child in North LaPorte Avenue house fire dies