Cause of deadly Nineveh fire released, neighbors work to move forward

(WISH Photo)

NINEVEH, Ind. (WISH) – Investigators say a house fire in Nineveh that killed a mother and her two children has been ruled accidental.

The November fire claimed the lives of 6-month-old John Ryan Slusher-Abbott, 18-month-old Haley Lynn, and days later, their mom, 29-year- Sirena, who’d tried to run back inside to save her babies.

According to officials, the November blaze started after the 18-month-old was seen playing with a burning candle in the living room.

One daughter was able to escape the blaze, and their father, Christopher Abbott, was at work.

Community members say they’re now working to move forward together after such a tragedy.

“The community’s really come together and tried to support Mr. Abbott, and the little girl,” said Janet Renner, Nineveh Township Trustee.

Everyone has been dealing with the tragedy in a different way, all while working to support the family.

Jacqui Brown lives next door and says her daughter had just come home from playing at the Abbott’s five minutes before the fire started.

“There are good days and bad days,” said Brown.

Thursday, local investigators released their final report. Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz says he hopes this gives the family a bit of closure.

“That’s what I wish we could allow to happen, to allow the family to grieve and to be able to get the closure they need,” said Lutz.

“Right now, the home itself has been turned over to the insurance companies and the homeowners to complete what they need to complete,” he added.

Thursday, the structure of the home remained fenced-in, in the same shape it was days after the fire broke out.

Nineveh Township Trustee Janet Renner says she hopes now the community, the family, and the firefighters could have another type of closure.

“This is a reminder, every day of a job they tried so hard to do and didn’t get done the way they wanted it done. We’d like to see it come down. It’s time,” said Renner.

Renner says if the owner would allow it, perhaps they could create a memorial at the site to remember and honor lives lost.

“None of us are ever going to forget. We have to go on, but we’re never going to forget,” she said.

Christopher Abbott didn’t wish to speak on camera Thursday evening, but his pastor said he would also like the home torn down.

24-Hour News 8 did call the landlord’s insurance company to find out the timeline on processing the home, we haven’t heard back. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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